When we think about traditional marketing methods, we typically think about outbound marketing. Buying radio and TV ads, running print ads, buying email lists, cold-calling, advertising on billboards, or sponsoring a booth at a trade show. We are pushing our marketing message out to a given audience hoping for a response, a lead, and new business. Of course, there is still a huge need for outbound marketing and inbound isn’t meant to replace this form of advertising, but instead is meant to enhance and supplement it.
I use strategies that involve many forms of inbound marketing such as content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and visual branding, to help you in attracting the attention of new prospects. The Inbound Methodology involves the marketer in every stage of a customer’s journey to finding the perfect product or service by attracting the right visitors to your website, converting them into qualified leads, closing more sales, and delighting your customers.
This strategy focuses on having potential customers come to your business rather than marketers going out for their attention. It tries to make it easier for customers, who are already actively looking for goods or services using the Internet, to find what a company offers, using company-created Internet content.
Since inbound marketing content is promoted by companies on social media, it can spread through word-of-mouth and have a long-term effect on prospects by reaching them on multiple social channels. Older pieces of content can attract more leads over time as the ranking increases, giving a company fresh leads without spending time or effort on creating a new piece of content. Feedback is easily obtained through leads leaving comments or initiating conversations on social media.
By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more. The best part about inbound marketing is that it is not a paid form of advertising.
What is the benefit of this? Your content lives on your site as long as you want it to. The difference between that and paid, is that when you stop paying for ads with Google Adwords, Facebook ads, etc., your leads and website traffic also stop as well. That is not the case with inbound marketing.
There are 4 marketing funnels that are critical when you are talking about inbound marketing: Attract, Convert, Close & Delight. Let us explain each of these in more detail.
- Attract: Attracting customers is the first step in the inbound marketing methodology. At this initial marketing stage, the customer is provided with the right content, at the right place, and at the right time through search engine optimization and social media marketing.
- Convert: Once the right visitors have been attracted to the site, the goal is to convert them into leads through obtaining their contact information on a landing page. In order to receive this valuable information, the remarkable content they need at that very moment is offered to them. This helps give them the information they are looking for, while providing you, the marketer, with their contact information to effectively market to them.
- Close: The closing stage is where leads are transformed into customers. At this later marketing stage, specific marketing tools such as marketing automation, lead nurturing, and social media monitoring are utilized to ensure that the correct leads are closed at the perfect time.
- Delight: Inbound marketing revolves around providing outstanding content to both your leads and your customers. This means that even after a lead is closed, they still must be engaged through dynamic content, social media, and trigger marketing. The goal of delighting the customers is both being able to solve their issues, and turn them into promoters of your business.
What is so remarkable about this methodology is that you are in charge of your results. These successful results are achieved through inbound marketing channels and tactics that allow you to create and deliver specific and rewarding content and marketing for your leads and customers at exactly the right time.
Buyers today are more empowered. The web provides them with instant information gratification. They can access detailed specs, pricing, and reviews about goods and services 24/7 with a few flicks of their thumbs. Meanwhile, social media encourages them to share and compare, while mobile devices add a wherever/whenever dimension to every aspect of the experience.
In our fast-paced society where the Internet and social networking shape our daily decisions, customers are exposed to more information than ever. This phenomenon is not only making them more educated, but also is causing a change in buying behaviors. As a result, B2B and B2C marketing efforts must be adjusted to respond to this shift.
Today’s businesses are realizing that outbound efforts alone are not enough to produce profits. Instead, inbound marketing techniques need to be utilized in order to attract more leads and foster better brand preference. To be successful in inbound marketing, businesses need to introduce a disciplined approach to content creation, introduce marketing automation tools that can help them nurture and score leads, and optimize how these leads flow through the sales pipeline.
A good inbound strategy involves creating content that appeals to your desired reader, then helping them find it through search, social, and discovery. To get started, you’ll need to create buyer personas: Who are the people you want to draw to this content? What are they looking for? What kinds of things do they like? After that, craft a solid SEO strategy. How will this audience find you? Will you optimize your content for Google keyword searches? Will you promote your content on discovery networks like Outbrain Amplify? Will you push it to your social? How often will you post? A lot of this is stuff you’ll figure out as you experiment. After that, it’s time to create your content and put it out into the world.
Make sure you build in a way to assess the success of your efforts. Before you do anything, figure out a concrete idea of what success would look like for your content, and have a way of measuring that. Metrics will drive what you do going forward. Any successful marketing strategy is dynamic and changes based on the data you collect about how effective your content is. If that sounds too impersonal, think of this way: figure out what your people want, and give it to them.
Ultimately, the best marketing strategy for your business will be the one that works. Always try new things while you continue to do the old things that are working. Analyze your data frequently, and be on top of any changes you see. Remember, audiences change, too. What worked last year might not work this year. People get tired of seeing the same thing, and marketers can run certain methods into the ground, robbing them of their usefulness. Your mix of inbound and outbound marketing will almost certainly change with time and as technology adds new features and ways of connecting with people. That said, the most important strategy will always be: experiment, measure, repeat.