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What is Inbound Marketing? Understanding the Basics

Tiago Santana
Feb 8, 2019 7:27:16 AM

Attracting customers to your business takes a good marketing strategy. And in the past, you needed a big budget to go along with it.

Back then, the large corporations stole most of the market because they were able to afford commercials, radio ads, and billboards.

However, today’s consumers detest advertisements. Out of all the ads, 73% of consumers disapprove of popup ads. And this is followed closely by 70% of consumers disliking mobile ads.

But even the video ads that play before content (i.e. YouTube) are disliked by 57% of people.

Needless to say, consumers aren’t looking to be marketed to. They’re looking to be educated so they’re able to make a conscious purchasing decision.

And that’s where inbound marketing comes in.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a lot like inbound calls you’ll finding coming into sales departments. This is when you have interested individuals coming to you to find out more about your product or service.

This means you’re driving in nothing but warm and hot leads all day long. As you’d imagine, this helps to boost revenue through the roof.

But how exactly do you drive consumers to your doorstep?

Well, there’s a methodology behind it:IM-1

  • Attract
  • Engage
  • Convert
  • Delight

You’ll find some businesses with similar, yet different inbound marketing methodologies, which is fine. It’s all about finding what works for your organization.

There are a variety of tools businesses use in order to complete the goals listed above. For instance, blogs and social media are incredible tools for attracting your core audience.

If you know where they are and what they want to know, then you can post it in these two venues to capture their attention.

Let’s take a closer a look at this methodology.

Stage one: attracting your customers

The difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is that you’re not casting a large net and hoping to capture a ton of fish.

Instead, you’re using a line with specific bait to capture specific fish. But in order to make this happen, you must first learn everything you can about your core audience.

Like, for example, who is your core audience? This is important to know whether you’re a startup or an established company. So the first step is researching who’s interested in what you have to offer.

Maybe you already have an idea of who your ideal buyer is. Create customer profiles for each potential buyer. This should include their gender, age range, profession, income range, and whether they’re married, have children, and make financial decisions.

You may find you have a handful of personas to attract. This means you’re going to have to have multiple campaigns for each. For example, writing blog posts that cater to each group.

This way, you have content that’s attracting each segment. At this stage, your prospects are in the awareness phase. So they’re looking for content that addresses their pain points.

An example campaign may look a little something like this:

  • Creating keyword-optimized blog content that educates your audience on questions and concerns they have (and how your product or service can help).
  • Promoting those blog posts on social media.
  • Engaging in conversations with followers and non-followers on social media.
  • Visitors are drawn to the blog and they browse around for products/services.  

At this point, you’ve successfully gained the attention of your target customers.

Now, it’s important to note that blogging is highly effective for both B2B and B2C companies. It’s found that companies that publish 16+ blog posts monthly get 3.5x more traffic than those that only publish 0-4 posts monthly.

But even those that publish less still get great results. For example, B2B companies that publish 11+ blog posts monthly get 3x the traffic than those that only publish 0-1 posts.

And it’s the same for B2C – those that publish 11+ blog posts monthly get 4x the traffic than those that only post-4-5 blog posts monthly.

By targeting your traffic as we mentioned, imagine how many conversions they can generate with those traffic increases!

Stage two: engage your audienceadult-blur-chair-196649

Once you get people coming to your website via your blog and social media, it’s time to engage them. This is what will help them to stick around longer and even become a return visitor.

You have all of these leads coming into your site and you want to capture them quickly. One way businesses are doing so is with engagement tools.

These may include email popups that ask visitors to sign up to a newsletter. By gathering emails, you get to initiate engagement with your prospects.

And by them signing up to your email campaign, they’re showing high-interest in your product/service and brand overall.

Now, the key to keeping your subscribers is to ensure you’re emailing them at the right frequency. You don’t want to email them too often or too infrequently.

On one end, you’re going to annoy them until they hit the unsubscribe button. And on the other end, they’re going to likely forget about you and unsubscribe due to no longer needing (or having interest in) your product or service.

At this stage, your prospects are already considering buying from your brand. So it’s imperative that you reach out to them right away and frequently enough to keep them engaged.

It’s best to segment your email campaigns so that you’re targeting each group with the content they’re interested in. For instance, you can use behavior tracking to learn more about your visitors.

Then use the data to deliver content based on the items and blog content they’ve clicked on in the past. For example, the subscribers who’ve placed items in the cart and left before checking out can receive an email a few hours later reminding them that they still have items in the cart.

Then to entice them to complete their order, you can include a discount code for 15% that’ll expire in 24 hours.

In other emails, you can include posts that are related to other posts your subscribers used in the past.

Another way to segment your campaigns is to create emails in advance that will trickle out to all of your new subscribers. This can be a series of emails that contain tips, lessons, or other content you promised to give visitors once they subscribe.

Both use automated emailing platforms to make this work. This way, your email campaigns are working for you while you focus on running your business.

Stage three: Convert your audience

At this stage, you’ve attracted highly-targeted customers, engaged with them, and nurtured your relationships with them.

Now, it’s time to seal the deal. Your audience moved from the awareness stage to the consideration stage and now they’re ready to make a decision.

It’s your job to help them do just that. With the automated email system you have, you can step it up a notch with personalized content.

Trigger emails are great tools for enticing subscribers to buy. Like in the example we gave about the abandoned cart.

Having a quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is recommended. This will allow you to keep track of all your leads and customers. You’ll have to nurture all of your leads into customers and this will help make that happen.

With a CRM, not only do you manage all of your leads’ names, emails, and phone numbers. But you’re also keeping track of all the communications you have with them (via phone, email, and online chat).

This will enable you to grow relationships and help leads complete their buyer’s journey.

But what about the content?

In this phase, you’re still creating content to help convert your leads. At this point, they’re ready to make a decision, so it’s up to you to help them do so.

Some of the content you can create at this stage should include social proof. Today’s consumers trust their peer’s reviews over advertisements.

This is why you’ll find customer testimonials to be invaluable at this stage. So in your emails to your third stage customers, you should include testimonials, reviews, and other forms of social proof.

Then besides user-curated content, you can have case studies, showcasing how your product or service is helping customers.

This would go further in detail about how each customer used your product or service to achieve great results. For instance, you can show before and after photos of customers losing weight using your product.

Proof is what will help convince your audience to become customers.

Stage four: Delighting your customersblur-book-browse-256546 (1)

Inbound marketing doesn’t end when your leads convert into paying customers. In fact, this is the start of another cycle where you’re nurturing them into repeat buyers.

A loyal customer base is one of the most valuable tools you can have for growing your business. If you’re not consistently reaching out to customers with content that’ll entice them to return, then you’ll have a long list of one-time buyers.

And the issue with this is that you’ll have to constantly look for new customers. About 70% of businessesagree that it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to keep them.

And current customers are 60-70% more likely to purchase what you’re offering. This is compared to 5-20% for new customers.

Then by increasing your customer retention rates by 5% can help boost your revenue by 25-95%.

So how does inbound marketing help in this department? Well, you’re using your content to keep in touch with users based on their needs.

For instance, if you offer a service that comes in tiers, then you can offer a free trial on a higher package that they may now need. You can send out this email six months down the line when they may need the upgrade.

It’s also a good idea to send out occasional emails with tips and advice.

Or if you sell apparel, you can track the behaviors of those who are signed in. Then send them emails with deals in the categories they were browsing in.

With a combination of upselling and cross-selling, you can continuously drive customers back to your business. And to get even more creative, you can offer other content to help them with your products.

For example, you can offer free training courses on how to use your products. This way, they feel confident in buying something they may not be entirely familiar with.

All of this delights your customers and will help turn them into loyal fans. And with loyal fans, you create another great marketing tool – brand advocates, who can help drive more leads to your business.AED

Using Inbound Marketing to Boost Conversions

Whether you’re looking to grow your brand visibility or your website traffic – inbound marketing is the answer. And what’s even better is that when done right, it can help boost your sales (and future sales).

But in order to make this happen, you need a winning strategy. This means learning all you can about your audience and delivering the content they want and need.

And as you can see, there are different tools you can use to manage your leads and content.

If you’d like to learn more about how inbound marketing can work for your business, don't hesitate to reach out, we are always here to help!

 

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