You’ve likely heard the term, “inbound marketing”. Broken down in its simplest form, it’s the idea of attracting your buyers with valuable, helpful content vs pushing product and leading with a sale.
In this post, you’ll learn the definition of inbound marketing, the buyer’s journey, the methodology behind inbound marketing, and why it’s so popular with not only marketers but buyers.
It’s nearly impossible to talk about inbound marketing without mentioning HubSpot. Brian Halligan, the CEO of HubSpot, coined the term “inbound marketing” back in 2006. Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content by adding value at every stage in the customer’s buying journey. HubSpot says we need to nurture our customers from the time they are “strangers” to our business all the way to equipping them to be our “promoters.”
Okay, so what’s the buyer’s journey? The buyer’s journey is the active research process a buyer goes through to become aware of, consider, and then ultimately purchase a new product or service. The buyer’s journey is categorized into three steps:
Awareness Stage: The buyer realizes they have a problem.
Consideration Stage: The buyer has been able to name the problem and begins to search for a solution to their pain.
Decision Stage: The buyer decides on a solution.
“Inbound Marketing is the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business. ” [Click to Tweet!]
Inbound Marketing Methodology
There are four main phases of the inbound methodology all moving towards the goal of using content to draw consumers toward your website where they can learn more about what you sell on their own terms. Their own terms meaning someone searching a question on Google vs. a tv commercial in the middle of their favorite show. Each step of the way requires tweaking of tactics to achieve the overall strategy. In order to do this, we closely follow their Four Phases of Inbound Methodology.
Phase 1: Attract
The first part of the inbound marketing methodology is to attract the right visitors to your site at the right time. Inbound puts your brand in front of prospects when they are actually in the process of looking for what you have to deliver which in the case of inbound, comes to them through meaningful, helpful, relevant content that helps them along their buyer’s journey.
Some crucial tools in attracting the right users to your site:
- Buyer persona development
- Search engine optimization
- Keywords/content strategy
- Social media marketing
Phase 2: Convert
The convert phase is where you have already attracted your ideal buyer persona to your website (through content) and now, you need to convert them into a qualified lead by having them submit their contact information on your website via a form. Once they submit their contact information, they can join your marketing sales funnel. The key here is matching the information requested with the value of the offered content. It should be an equal exchange.
Key elements in converting users on your site:
- Premium Content Offers (ebooks, white papers, checklists, how-tos)
- Optimized landing pages
- Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
- Forms to capture user information
Phase 3: Close
This stage is critical. Essentially you are closing the sale, money in the bank. However, closing a lead and converting them into a customer can be a long process and varies from industry to industry so there isn’t a magic formula that can be applied. We can though, take advantage of some important tools to better ensure success.
Important tools to close leads into customers:
- Marketing automation & workflows
- Smarketing (sales & marketing alignment)
- List segmentation
- Email marketing
Phase 4: Delight
Just because you get the sale, doesn’t mean that the inbound process is finished and that your is work is done. It’s quite the opposite. Inbound marketing calls for the continuation of customer engagement, delight, upselling, and ultimately growing your customer base into happy promoters of your company.
Must-have tactics for delighting your customers are:
- Social media monitoring (Check out this ebook on how to monitor your social media in just 10 minutes a day!)
- Reporting and analytics
Do customer’s coming to you, sound too good to be true? It’s not! It’s real and it works. The inbound methodology is quickly becoming a popular strategy as audiences are changing and so are their buying habits. Customer’s expectations are higher than ever before as they are demanding a more personal, tailored relationship with the company they purchase from.
Inbound Works with the Modern Buyer
With inbound marketing, you aren’t blasting a one size fits all message on an overcrowded channel. Instead, you are crafting helpful relevant content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers. Thoughtful content creation builds trust and boosts your business’ overall creditability with your consumers.
Inbound consumers have changed their expectations of how they want to interact with marketing material. Consumers have a lot more control than they used to with changing technology. There’s now ways consumers can block and avoid unwanted marketing tactics fairly easily such as tv commercials, pop-up ads, mailers, and telemarketers. If customers are actively avoiding your outbound tactics, it renders them useless.
Given the state of the state, targeting specific personas with well-researched content tailored to their problems and pains is way more likely to be effective and earn their attention.
Inbound marketing at its core is a process, which is designed to be easily scaled, replicated, and optimized. Attract, Convert, Close, Delight, and Repeat.
Ready to get to work planning your next digital Inbound Marketing plan, but need a little inspiration? Check out our Free Ebook – 32 Enviable Inbound Marketing Examples.