What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is generally viewed as a brand promotion strategy. Businesses of all sizes, especially on the Internet utilize inbound marketing strategies as opposed to outbound marketing because it has numerous benefits. If you want to drive leads to your business and quickly grow your brand, then you need to embrace effective inbound marketing tactics.
This detailed guide will help you understand everything you need to know about inbound marketing so you can implement a result-oriented campaign and grow your business.
Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that involves earning your prospects attention as opposed to using traditional marketing strategies and advertisements to find the customers. Meaning, instead of spending your marketing budget on buying ads in magazines, you dedicate your time and resources towards being in front of your prospects when they are searching for your products, services, or business.
You strive to be in front of people who are looking for the solutions you provide, rather than wasting your limited marketing resources to attract people who are not interested in your solutions.
In other words, inbound marketing makes it easier for your products or business to be found. You can get a lot of qualified leads and close more business if you amalgamate all your disparate marketing strategies such as social media and email marketing into a more effective, holistic marketing machine.
In addition, the inbound marketing machine helps create a remarkable and educational experience to the customers you have earned by nurturing them with valuable content as they go through their buyer’s journey.
HOW INBOUND MARKETING IS
RELEVANT TO TODAY’S ONLINE NEEDS
Buying Patterns Have Changed
Inbound marketing is a strategy that helps market to your target audiences in a way that matches their various buyer behaviours. Nowadays, people are too busy with their careers and life commitments and don’t want to be disrupted or bombarded with promotional messages. Instead, they want to be advised and guided. Inbound marketing has all the tools and tactics you need to reach out to this new buyer within his/her comfort zone.
Instead of consuming marketing messages, today’s smart shopper will turn to the internet so as to be in control of the buying process. No matter how creative, appealing or interactive your ads are, people simply don’t like being disrupted by advertisements when browsing the internet.
Therefore, in order to be in sync with this fast-growing trend, you need to provide these potential customers with high-quality, informative content. Over time, readers of your content will start perceiving you as a go-to resource or thought leader in your niche, rather than an ordinary vendor trying to sell something.
According to a 2011 Hubspot study, leads generated through inbound marketing cost 62 percent less than those generated through outbound marketing efforts. This reveals that the cost per lead in inbound marketing is lower compared to outbound marketing.
For instance, the cost per click for posting your ads on reputable, authoritative websites is quite higher compared to the cost of optimizing your company website for search engines.
Moreover, organic traffic is not a one-time statistic like paid traffic. In essence, the cost of outbound marketing virtually depends on the number of impressions you get, while the cost of attracting few or millions of visitors to your website remains the same. In addition, the content publishing tools that you require for your inbound marketing strategy to work are usually inexpensive.
It's Easier To Convert Visitors
People who find your business online through the inbound marketing strategies are potential customers who are actively looking for your product or service. These are “warm” leads that can easily be converted into sales, unlike the leads you generate through blanket advertising and cold calling.
WHY INBOUND MARKETING WORKS
If you want to confirm that outbound marketing is ineffective, observe your own buyer behavior. For instance, do you usually click on the PPC ads on Google? Do you read the colorful print ads on your favorite magazine? Do you get inspired to take action after seeing TV commercials? If your answer to these questions is no, then you know that the traditional outbound marketing efforts are not that effective.
So what works? Inbound marketing is an evolutionary approach that is focused on creating educational experiences for potential customers. That is why you may choose to visit a website to learn more about them after an interactive, engaging post on social media. Savvy marketers have started matching their marketing to their prospects’ buyer journey. Hence, inbound marketing works perfectly well with today’s smart online shopper.
Sales processes have changed dramatically because the internet is full of valuable information on how to make informed decisions before making a purchase. This has transformed the entire buyer behavior that marketers used to target a few years ago. Essentially, a prospect will only make an online purchase if he/she feels the purchase is “safe” and has experienced an acute pain. Therefore, if your business is not a reputable brand, telling as many people as possible about your business or product so that they can make a purchase when their pain is acute, is a waste of valuable resources.
If you are a reasonable, smart marketer who wants to know how many leads you generated from your marketing budget this month, you will prefer the inbound marketing strategy. You have to press your prospects “buy button” for them to buy. Meaning, you have to make them feel safe.
If you feel disturbed whenever a salesperson approaches you or gives a call, you need to avoid creating that feeling for your potential customers. In other words, instead of selling to them, try educating, advising, coaching, and counseling them. This aligns well with what innovative marketing firms deploy in their content marketing and inbound marketing campaigns.
In order to market to your potential customers in a way that matches with their buyer behavior (pressing their buy button), you need to create compelling, useful content, and post it on your website or other media and marry it with a well-designed conversion approach.
HOW INBOUND MARKETING WORKS
Develop A Content Strategy
Whether you intend to create eBooks, tutorials, or advice articles, your content strategy should be focused on identifying gaps in what you have and outlining your goals. Take time to create a realistic editorial plan and assign duties to your content marketing team or freelancers. Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process involves learning and implementing strategies that have the potential of optimizing your website.
The essence of a social media strategy is to engage with your potential customers. It is important to determine whether your prospects are active participants on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You have to be where your potential customers are and keep interacting with them as you post links to the content on your company website.
However, you have to conduct some A/B testing with various content formats to be sure about what they are more responsive with before you start creating your content. You may be surprised to learn that your target audience responds better to podcasts and videos than long blocks of plain text. Your prospects care about how your products or service will solve their problems, not about the business. So, focus on talking to your prospects and helping them, rather than yourself. Doing this will eventually help you prioritize your content marketing efforts.
Nurture the Generated Leads
Continue making your prospects safer by providing them with additional helpful content. Implement a structured strategy of keeping your prospects closer to your company. At this stage, when their pain becomes acute, they won’t start looking for another company, rather will slide further down the sales funnel and convert.
Remember, getting converting prospects into paying customers involves the sales team. Avoid disconnecting the marketing team and the sales team by mapping content directly into your structured sales process. In fact, the work of your sales team is to help your potential customers make safe purchase decisions.
Convert the Visitors
Once you have a significant amount of traffic, it is time to introduce a conversion strategy. In other words, you should make it easy for your visitors to take the next step. For example, you can highlight a few sales offers or set up an automatic email subscription process on your homepage.
Sometimes, inbound marketing works best when you combine it with some conventional marketing techniques. Remember to start early because inbound marketing strategies may take time to start showing positive results.
THE MECHANICS OF
It is Performance and Data-Based. The simple mechanics behind inbound marketing is driving visitors to your company website and turning them into leads. You’ll collect data on the performance of your inbound marketing campaigns. Gather performance data from your landing page conversions, lead nurturing emails, rankings of various keywords, content types, and CTA buttons. When you analyze the collected data, you get an insight into what is working and what is not. Moreover, you can get all this information in real-time. Its Mission Is Generating Leads, not Branding.
The idea behind implementing an inbound marketing strategy is to get leads and not spreading the word. Instead of getting your name out there, focus on getting qualified leads by using inbound marketing tools. The business-oriented measurement is not to hope someone contacts your company, but generate leads that can convert to sales.
Utilize The Automation Component Marketing in today’s competitive virtual markets has become more complicated than it was a few years ago. Take advantage of automation tools or software to automate your landing page development and recurring inbound marketing tasks. Automation is very crucial because inbound marketing is scalable, repeatable, and a methodical marketing strategy.
The inbound marketing machine is integrated with various marketing tools and a credible methodology to optimize your daily or weekly marketing effort. If you implement modern marketing tactics, you will start realizing solid results, consistently. In fact, you’ll be able to save enough time to focus on the core aspects of running your business once you automate these processes.
Inbound marketing is replicated and systematized as a process. And, since processes can be scaled, set it up and scale it to run behind the scenes with proper oversight. Simply turn up the inbound marketing process and continue getting more leads without deep involvement.
Additionally, if it is well-optimized you will literally see visitors, their sources, conversations and leads in real-time on your mobile device. An inbound program is perfect for marketing professionals running internal marketing departments and marketing agencies. This is because it requires minimal resources to make more money.
THE THREE CRUCIAL PHASES OF
Skipping any of the inbound marketing phases or fast-tracking some elements will have a negative impact on your inbound program. Meaning, you’ll get fewer leads or poor results than you expected. Your campaign should be orchestrated and implemented in the following three phases:
This is where you create the customer persona, marketing materials, and analytics for measuring the inbound program’s performance against goals. This is like a recipe for preparing a delicious meal. While it is possible to prepare a meal without a recipe, the chances of creating a mess along the way are higher. The plan has to align well with your business objectives.
Create the assets you’ll need to implement your program and generate leads. These crucial assets include SEO, content, email, technology stack for automation, and influencer marketing resources.
Once you have launched your inbound program, you need a methodology that guides you in testing your performance continuously and making adjustments whenever necessary. It is important to collect data, make decisions, test the decisions and evaluate results.
Use your plan as a schematic to build what is supposed to be built and decide on when it should be built. For example, you need a search strategy to design a new website that should be found when prospects are searching for targeted keywords or questions.
Through a continuous improvement approach, you will know when and where to optimize for better results. In order to succeed in executing the third phase of growth, you need to ignore opinions in exchange for data and facts. Review and analyze the data you collect, create an action plan, implement adjustments, and measure the improvements.
The Bottom Line?
Whether potential customers find your products via social media or search, your company website is the pillar of your inbound marketing methodology. Relying on traditional outbound marketing approaches such as sales calls and direct mail campaigns is not as effective as inbound marketing. In the near future, businesses that stick to old outbound marketing approaches will be relegated from the highly competitive online environment. The sooner you start implementing inbound marketing strategies the sooner you’ll start seeing tangible results.
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