1) What is Inbound Marketing ?
Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that is designed to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the hope of lead generation or customers.
In terms of digital marketing, this means using a combination of marketing channels – most commonly content marketing, search engine optimization SEO, and social media – in creative ways to attract people’s attention. The aim of a successful inbound marketing campaign is to increase reach and drive quality traffic, engagement and conversions using ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.
Inbound marketing software provider HubSpot coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing’ back in 2006. HubSpot defines inbound marketing as the process of attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers. Through using various types of content at different stages of the buying cycle, the ‘inbound methodology’ is “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business.”
2) What is Inbound Marketing Strategy ?
Inbound marketing is about delivering solutions and opportunities that have a positive impact on people and your business. So, how do you do that?
An inbound marketing strategy can include a number of different channels and types of content to attract prospects and customers to your website. But inbound marketing is just one part of a larger movement in the business world. It’s the foundation for the idea that it’s not enough to just attract people to your website; you have to continue to help, support, and empower them well after they become a customer. That’s how your business grows — by keeping Marketing, Sales, and Service constantly focused on how to help current and future customers.
We call this the flywheel, and the philosophies of inbound permeate and accelerate that flywheel — from Attract, to Engage, to Delight — to help your business grow faster, and better.
These strategies will help you effectively market to your target audience the inbound way. Below, you’ll see there are specific strategies for each inbound method of attracting, engaging, and delighting consumers to help your business grow better.
Inbound marketing strategies that attract your target audience and buyer personas are tied to content creation and development.
To reach your audience, start by creating and publishing content — such as blog articles, content offers, and social media — that provide value. Examples include a guide on how to use your product, information about how your solution can solve their challenges, customer testimonials, and details about promotions or discounts.
To attract your audience members on a deeper level through inbound marketing, optimize all of this content with an SEO strategy. An SEO strategy will require you to target specific keywords and phrases related to your products or services, the challenges you solve for customers, and the ways you help target audience members.
This will allow your content and information to organically appear on the search engine results page (SERP) for the people who are searching for this information — also known as your target audience or the right customers for your business.
When using inbound strategies to engage your audience, ensure you’re communicating and dealing with leads and customers in a way that makes them want to build long-term relationships with you. When using these engagement strategies, inject information about the value your business will provide them with.
Specific engagement strategies may include how you handle and manage your inbound sales calls. Focus on how customer service representatives handle calls from interested people and prospects. Additionally, be sure you’re always solution selling rather than product selling. This will ensure all deals end in mutually beneficial agreements for customers and your business — meaning, you provide value for your right-fit customers.
Delighting inbound strategies ensure customers are happy, satisfied, and supported long after they make a purchase. These strategies involve your team members becoming advisors and experts who assist customers at any point in time.
Incorporating thoughtful, well-timed chatbots and surveys to assist, support, and request feedback from customers is a great way to delight these people. Bots and surveys should be shared at specific points in time throughout the customer’s journey to ensure they make sense and are of value.
For example, chatbots may help current customers set up a new technique or tactic you’ve started offering that they’d like to take advantage of. Additionally, a satisfaction survey may be sent out 6-months after customers have purchased your product or service to get their feedback and review ideas for improvement.
Social media listening is another important strategy when it comes to delighting customers. Social media followers may use one of your profiles to provide feedback, ask questions, or share their experience with your products or services. Respond to these interactions with information that helps, supports, and encourages followers — this shows you hear and care about them.
Lastly, the mark of an inbound strategy focused on delighting customers is one that assists and supports customers in any situation, whether or not your business gets any value out of it. Remember, a delighted customer becomes a brand advocate and promoter, so handle all interactions, both big and small, with care.
3) Benefits Of Inbound Marketing ?
Reach the right audience in the right place to generate quality traffic
By focusing your inbound marketing strategy on reaching the right audiences in the right places, you can attract your target customers in order to meet your digital marketing objectives. This is instead of spending money attracting traffic from people who are unlikely to ever convert.
Inbound marketing is all about giving potential customers the information they are looking for – even if they don’t know it – in a creative and engaging way. It’s not about pushing unwanted sales at every opportunity. By using inbound marketing as a way to present your brand as a useful and reliable resource, the hope is they’ll come to you when the time to purchase does arise.
Protect from over-reliance on one channel
By pursuing quality traffic from a variety of sources – organic search, social media referrals, referrals from other websites talking about your amazing work – you reduce the reliance on one channel alone, and therefore the associated risk.
Measuring the impact of inbound marketing in a way that demonstrates understandable ROI has always been a tricky one. The key is to be clear from the beginning.
It may be that you can’t track the number of leads generated as a direct result of your campaign, but you can track how many downloads your resource has had, the average duration people watched your video for, how many new social media followers you gained, etc.
When you’re planning your campaign, be clear about what it is you’re trying to achieve and measure that appropriately and honestly. That way, everyone’s expectations are set – and therefore, are more likely to be met.
Successful inbound marketing campaigns don’t happen overnight. They take time to plan, implement and refine. It can be labor-intensive too – you might need content creators, designers, developers, outreach specialists, social media marketers and a campaign manager to even get the thing off the ground. That said, if you put your time and effort into the right evergreen campaign, you should have something that continues to provide value for the foreseeable future.
4) Examples of Inbound Marketing ?
Content hubs offering how-to video guides, blogs, case studies, webinars, white papers and related product information
User-generated content and social media marketing campaigns, such as photography competitions or review collation
Interactive online content pieces created in partnership with related business to increase digital PR and promotional opportunities
Creating quality content for your target audience via blogging on your company blog
The Importance Of Analysis & Refinement
If there’s one thing you remember about inbound marketing, it’s the importance of tracking performance and refining your approach accordingly. This is where testing comes in too – discover what messaging, types of valuable content, imagery, calls to action etc. work best for your target audience and ensure you implement these on a permanent basis, or in your next campaign.