What is Inbound Marketing?
Traditionally, marketing companies and specialists focused on outbound methods such as telemarketing, press releases, TV adverts, and radios to pass messages about brands to their audiences and generate leads. However, these traditional outbound marketing methods bombard customers with the information they do not need, and they tend to ignore these marketing efforts. On the other hand, inbound marketing is more strategic in marketing. Instead of giving customers information that they have not asked for, this marketing method focuses on aligning the business with the needs of clients and, in turn, providing solutions to the target audience. Below, we explain everything you need to know about inbound marketing.
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
If you want your inbound marketing program to work, you must plan, implement and optimize it. Thankfully, your hard work will be seen in the results, so the more you invest, the better the return on investment. You will spend your time creating killer content. Below, we break down the process:
- Defining the Business Goals and Buyer Persona
You identify the buyer persona and target audience and learn everything you can about them at this stage. This step is crucial as you cannot write content for an audience you do not understand.
- Content Provision
For this step to work, you need to anticipate your customers’ questions along the buyer’s journey. You also need to figure out what will differentiate you from competitors and establish why these users will listen to you. Remember, inbound marketing is transformational and aims at retaining the customer throughout the process and even after the purchase is closed. The more relevance and personalization you can get, the better.
- Delivery Platforms
After determining who your audience will be and creating content, you need to choose a platform to deliver your gems. You can reach clients through various platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and blogs.
- Result Analysis and Optimization of the program
Towards the end of your inbound marketing program, you will need to analyze the results and determine whether the strategies you used work for your business. Again, there are different metrics you can use to measure the success rate of your marketing efforts.
You can look at different factors, including the inbound links, SEO rankings or even the number of articles you have published. By measuring the success of your campaign, you can know how you are performing. Ideally, you should analyze results weekly to see exactly how your inbound marketing methods are working and how you can improve your efforts.
Application of the Inbound Marketing Methodology
Inbound marketing values and empowers clients at any stage of their journey. By empowering clients, the business can succeed too. Instead of reaching out to the customer, inbound marketing allows the customer to come to you. This methodology can be applied in these ways:
Attracting. This is the first stage of inbound marketing. Here, the focus is on finding and attracting the right target market. As a business, you can draw in the right clients with valuable conversations and content to establish you as an expert in the field. As a result, they would want to engage with you. If you use the right content marketing strategies, you can rank higher on the Google search results page and become more visible to your audience on platforms such as social media.
Engaging. Engaging the client involves giving them insight and offering solutions to their pain points. Since you help them meet their goals, they are more likely to buy from you than competitors who do not pay attention to them. You convert them through strategies such as using sign-up forms, call-to-actions, and giving incentives so they can sign up for your newsletter.
Closing. While some users are easily converted into customers, the process is not always as straightforward. One brilliant way to make users customers is through marketing automation. You can send them automated emails that will remind them of items they left in their carts so they can go back to the website and complete a purchase. If other methods of closing have not worked, automation may work. According to Moosend, up to 45% of emails about abandoned carts are opened. Furthermore, the users click up to 50% of these links and purchase.
Delighting. Delighting customers means getting them help and support to use the product or service they purchased from you successfully.
This methodology shows how a company can get invaluable customers. For starters, the company will have to provide value first then these potential customers will eventually turn into customers.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
One important thing that every inbound marketer needs to understand is the role of inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. The difference between these two strategies is primarily how they approach the customers.
Outbound marketing requires the business to proactively reach out to customers and find out if they are interested in the product. Some examples of outbound strategies include cold calling, email campaigns, social media campaigns, and door-to-door sales. Furthermore, you will need to spend money on sales campaigns, and getting results may take more time.
Conversely, inbound marketing focuses on bringing the customer to the business. By bringing the customer to the business, you can establish long-term trust and enhance brand awareness, making it more likely for the customer to buy from you. Compared to outbound marketing, inbound marketing may yield results in a short time as it is more targeted. Furthermore, you can spend less on marketing costs when using inbound marketing strategies. Popular inbound marketing methods used today include inbound content marketing, sign-up forms with incentives, and social media marketing.
However, if you use an inbound marketing strategy such as writing a blog post, you include pop-ups, an incentivized newsletter, and even a CTA. Therefore, these strategies would be considered inbound rather than outbound.
Paid Media, Owned Media, and Earned Media
You can engage potential customers through these three types of media.
But what is the difference?
Earned media includes coverage you earn because you work for it. Earned media includes offline platforms such as newspaper and magazine coverage and online platforms such as coverage on news sites, mentions on social media platforms, inbound marketing campaign hashtags, online reviews, and online conversations.
On the other hand, owned media include channels that you can control. These may consist of your blog, website, social media platforms, YouTube channels and landing pages.
Lastly, paid media is associated with outbound marketing. It involves the use of traditional advertising methods, including PPC and display marketing, paid emails and other traditional forms of advertising. In addition, there are more modern forms of advertisement, such as paid social media advertising. For example, boosted posts on Twitter and Facebook advertisements.
As mentioned above, social media advertising is an outbound marketing strategy that can boost the efforts and performance of inbound marketing strategies. For instance, you can use Facebook advertising to promote your content on the platform.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
Inbound marketing efforts help businesses market to their target audiences with the right results. There are strategies for each part of the methodology. If you keep these strategies going for your business, you have a chance to keep your business growing. And have a successful inbound marketing campaign, one after the other. We explain more below:
These are strategies that a business uses to attract the target audience. The primary way through which you can achieve this is by creating and publishing relevant content such as articles, blog posts, social media content, and content offer. Any content you create should be engaging and should provide value.
A good example of creating valuable content is when you publish guides that show how your products are used or an article detailing solutions to a particular challenge. It could also be testimonials or information detailing crucial information about an ongoing sale.
A key component of attracting the audience is using search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a practice that involves targeting specific keywords and phrases that are related to your product or service or any other issue that revolves around you and your brand.
As a result, your content will appear on the organic search results page when a user searches for information relating to your content. These users are your customers or target audience.
Once you have attracted the leads, you need to engage them. Inbound marketing works by creating engagement that inspires long-term relationships with the brand. In addition, engaging strategies help the business inject information regarding the business’s value for the lead.
A good way to ensure that your customers are fully engaged is to focus on how customer service agents handle the calls they receive from these leads or prospects. For example, instead of selling a product, they should focus on selling a solution. when the clients reach out.
By engaging your clients, you provide benefits to them, and in return, they will provide business for you.
Delighting strategies ensure the client is supported after they make a purchase. If the customer is happy and satisfied, they are likely to be repeat clients or recommend your service or product to other people.
One of the best ways brands delight their clients is through social media listening. This strategy involves a business using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to connect with clients and get feedback. They allow clients to share their service or product experience, provide feedback, and ask questions. The business or brand will then respond to the users with helpful information or support if they have a problem. In addition, this strategy shows your clients that you care for them, which inspires loyalty.
Apart from social media listening, you can invest in surveys and chatbots. These tools will help you request feedback from clients and offer them assistance for any issues they may have. However, you have to be accurate with your timing for such a strategy to work. Therefore, you need to share these surveys during specific times along the customer journey. For instance, you can send out a survey to see if the client is satisfied with a product or service approximately six months after buying. On the other hand, you can use a chatbot to help a current client set up something related to your service.
All your delighting strategies should focus on providing value to the customer by assisting them. However, the results do not have to be immediate. Even if the customer does not buy again, they become brand ambassadors of the business, resulting in even more sales.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
One of the biggest benefits of inbound marketing is its great return on investment. It costs much less than outbound marketing for starters, and inbound marketers agree that the ROI is great. Furthermore, this strategy is useful for those looking to convert leads to customers.
Furthermore, this method of marketing helps in creating brand awareness and growing the relationship between a business and its clients. Therefore, you can notice a growing trend in consumer behavior. Now more than ever, you need to embrace an approach that engages leads and draws them to your business as older outbound methods no longer generate revenue.
Many businesses are moving away from the traditional outbound marketing methods and towards more engaging and fruitful inbound marketing. Inbound marketing involves enticing the user to come to the business by providing engaging, personalized content that addresses their pain points, markets your product, and delights them even after the sale has been made. Perfecting your strategy when using this marketing style may be difficult. However, once you master this methodology of inbound marketing, it will serve your business well. Whether you are a small business or an already established enterprise, you can use inbound marketing strategies and get a great return on investment. Therefore, this is one of the best ways you can ensure that you are meeting the needs of your clients every step of the way.