What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is all about creating and sharing great content to market your business. There has been a lot of controversy about what inbound marketing truly is and what should be included in its definition. In the most general sense, inbound marketing is any kind of marketing that reaches customers because they’re searching for it, and it’s that search that draws them to your site. Simple. Right?
Inbound Marketing Methodology
By publishing content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant to your target customer because that’s exactly what they were looking for. With relevant content, you will be able to better serve and help your customer. The methodology behind inbound marketing is pretty simple: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. Here’s a breakdown of each one:
Attract – getting the right traffic to your website is key in this stage. You don’t just want any traffic to your site, you want the traffic that is most likely to convert. A great way to determine who to target is by building buyer personas. Buyer personas are holistic ideals of what your customer will look like. Some inbound marketing techniques to ATTRACT the right traffic are:
- Writing strong content
- Participating in social media
- Using the right keywords
- Optimizing your landing page
Those searching for a specific piece information will land on your page because you provide that information
Convert – Once you have the desired visitors on your page, it’s time to convert them by gathering more information via great content, well-designed landing pages and strong calls-to-action (learn more about calls-to-action here). Getting contact information from the visitor is a very important part of this conversion process. In order for your visitors to give up this information willingly, you need to offer them something in return such as a free eBook, downloadable PDF, a free trial, or another special deal. Areas you can focus your inbound marketing skills on to CONVERT visitors are:
- Landing Page Design
- Strong Call-to-Actions
- User Friendly Forms
- Useful Content
Having a great landing page can help convert visitors.
Close – At this stage, you have collected the right information (convert) from the right people (attract). Your visitors have converted to leads, and now it is time to close the sale. During this stage, there are certain marketing tools and strategies that can be used to help you and your sales team close. These include:
- Lead Scoring
- Marketing Automation
- Email Communication
- Click-to-call Communication
Delight – Just because you have closed on a sale doesn’t mean you can just take their money and never speak with them again. It’s important for you to continue communication with your customers to engage and hopefully eventually upsell them. Your customers can be your best marketing tool, the happier you keep them the more they will promote you. Two tools to take advantage of here are:
- Email and Marketing Automations – Keeping in contact with your customers doesn’t have to be tedious, and using automations to help share your content will give your customers attention without being time-consuming.
- Social Media – You can continue to share your good content with the customers you’ve already closed on, and they’ll share it with new potential customers.
Keep your customers close and they’ll remain loyal
Increase Your Inbound Marketing Results
The best tip for strengthening your inbound marketing plan is to fill your website with and share strong and interesting content that your visitors will actually want to read. With the right call-to-actions and linking text, visitors can be drawn to your website on the basis on your good content. The more great content you can create, post and link back to your site, the stronger your inbound marketing results can be. This type of creative and informative content can come in many forms, including:
- Blog Posts
- Free Trials
- Press Releases
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Social Media Interactions
Different types of content will attract difference types of visitors.
Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing
Also referred to as new school marketing vs. old school marketing, respectively, inbound and outbound marketing differ in several ways. The main difference between the two is that inbound marketers have to earn their way in to gain access to a new lead or customer; in contrast, outbound marketers have to buy, beg and steal to get in – the places where they market may not appreciate them being there, and may go as far to consider them a “necessary evil”. With inbound marketing, customers are in charge and dictate what content they want to see, whereas in outbound marketing, the company is in control and can sometimes be intrusive. The “old school” mediums of marketing include media types such as radio, television ads, direct mail pieces, cold calling, print or banner ads. While these methods are still used with some success, they are becoming increasingly more expensive and less effective, especially as visitors are becoming used to the more user-friendly inbound marketing strategy. Some of the “new school” methods include: social media, search engine optimization, referrals, and blogging.
Keep it new school with great content.
Stats to Confirm Inbound Marketing is Smart:
- Inbound Marketing cost 62% less than Outbound Marketing.
- 57% of companies have acquired customers from their company blog and 42% have through Twitter.
- 86% of people skip through television commercials.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened.
- 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call List.
Inbound marketing takes time and planning to implement and stay on top of. In the past five years there has seen a shift in the way people make purchases and marketers have started to adapt to that shift. Inbound marketing is all about connecting with people in the most cost effective and convenient way for both the business and the customer. With the advances in technology, we are now able to communicate with people in a much less intrusive manner, gather information more quickly and maintain clients with less effort and money. Take advantage of these advancements in order to better your inbound marketing strategy and results.
“Business…is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight.” – Henry Luce.