What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing works by using techniques that allow potential customers to come to you instead of spending lots of time and money just to get them to notice you exist. Some of these methods include making your business easy to find on the internet, offering relevant and interesting content through blogs and podcasts, and engaging customers in discussions through social media.
By proving yourself an expert in your industry and one who can be trusted to get the job done, it is much easier to convert those qualified visitors into leads and, ultimately, customers who will promote your brand.
What’s the difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?
The strategy of outbound marketing is to cast a wide net with the hope of catching a few good customers from the overwhelming sea of possible consumers. Most traditional marketing strategies fall under the outbound umbrella, including broadcast and print advertising, billboards, telemarketing, and direct mail. These techniques impose the business’s marketing message onto consumers without regard for the consumers’ desire to receive it.
With inbound marketing, the strategy is to get your ideal customers to come to you, on their own time and by their own will. In this type of environment, the customer is much happier and comfortable because they are seeking you out for a service that they believe you can fill; they know they have a need and that you can achieve it for them. This results in a much higher conversion rate of your potential leads and healthier long-term relationships with the ones that do turn into customers.
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
Step 1: Attract Customers
The first step in any inbound marketing strategy is to drive customers to find you online and make them aware of your brand. Perhaps you already have a Facebook page that you update occasionally, and maybe even a blog with a few posts. Or maybe you’re starting entirely from scratch. Either way, we can help you lay the foundation for your inbound marketing strategy by creating a strong online presence for you that will drive customers your way.
Generating more traffic for a website is like baking: you need lots of complementary ingredients that work cohesively to get a good result. There is no single tactic proven to produce worthwhile results by itself. Rather, it’s a set of strategies and supporting tools working together. Those tactics include…
Step 2: Converting Visitors to Leads
Things are happening. Monthly traffic has started to point up and to the right. But actual sales and revenue are still in the same place. What’s the problem? Well, generating traffic is only the first step. Those website visitors need to be converted into usable leads, which can then be converted into sales. How is this done? By creating landing pages with premium content designed for lead generation.
Step 3: Turning Leads Into Customers
From a “leads into customers” perspective, you must develop lots of targeted content that spans the length and breadth of the buyer persona’s sales funnel. Educational information such as industry trends and “how-to” blog posts are proven winners for the top of the funnel.
However, the middle part of the persona’s buying journey calls for content that is tied more closely to your products and services and is delivered to them in the format they prefer, wherever they happen to be looking, on any device — in order to turn a lead into a customer.
Step 4: Generating Promoters from Customers
You’ll eventually want to create unexpected, valued, positive moments for your customers that are indelibly inscribed in each of their minds. Moments so awesome that customers can’t stop talking about what they experienced to everyone they know — online and offline.
When customers can’t stop talking about their amazing experiences, they’ve become advocates, evangelists, defenders, apostles, champions — promoters. Ask an Apple customer or the owner of a Harley Davidson. These folks are willing to turn down a cheaper product to keep doing business with these brands. Their chosen brand energizes them.
Various studies show that delighted customers can be worth 10x [or more] of their initial purchase value. Advocates buy more, more often, and actively convince others to buy as well.
Step 5: Measuring, Analyzing, and Interpreting
The Greeks had a maxim: “Know thyself.” This applies to all aspects of life, but especially to inbound marketing. It’s important, periodically, to take stock of your approach and see exactly what’s working and what’s not. What kind of content is generating the most interest? What kind of content is failing to get a following? Are you losing a lot of prospects at one particular stage? Do you have an especially high conversion rate at a different stage?
One of the great things about marketing online is that you can measure every aspect of the process: how many people clicked on your blog, how they got there (Google search? Facebook? Promotional e-mail?), what other pages they clicked on around your site, and much more. And that’s just at the first stage. You get a plethora of data on every piece of content you offer and every step that potential customers take, from the beginning of the cycle to the end. Then, you can analyze that data to see what went right and what went wrong to improve your strategy for the future.