Getting To Grips With Inbound Marketing
Very often we hear marketing “buzzwords” being thrown around. I’m sure you have heard of phrases such as content marketing, influencer marketing, inbound marketing and a few others. The online space has evolved so much that almost everyone is creating and sharing content across social media platforms on a daily basis. It’s a battle for ranking and relevance rather authoring valuable content. At times, clients often accuse us (marketers) of feeding them marketing jargon while not really adding any value to their businesses. I believe that when it comes to effectively reaching and engaging your audience, one needs to be able to communicate with them on a personal a level as possible.
The goal of this article is to help you understand the concept of inbound marketing and how it can be effectively used to drive business growth.
In the article we outline:
- What is inbound marketing and how is it different from outbound marketing
- What is the inbound marketing methodology
- How you can use inbound marketing techniques to increase your sales and how your company website plays a role in helping you achieve all of these
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is an approach built around content creation (examples of these include blog posts, eBooks, infographics and videos etc.) to attract people to your business, convert them into leads, and then nurture them into customers. This entire process happens on your company’s website. It then becomes very clear that your website is critical for your business’s growth because it is where new visitors get introduced your company and your brand as a whole.
How is it different from outbound marketing?
This graphic illustrates the main differences between inbound marketing traditional marketing
In traditional marketing, businesses focus on finding customers. They can use methods such as cold calling, TV adverts, print media to reach out to the customer. With inbound marketing, businesses draw customers by empowering them with relevant and valuable content. To give an illustration. A company blog that focuses on helping customers with “how-to ”videos distributed on social media is one example inbound marketing. Inbound Marketing relies on earning people’s interest instead of buying it. It is marketing that is focused on being found by customers, through developing an online presence that speaks to their needs and pain points.
According to the Hubspot documented methodology, inbound marketing can be broken up into four sections:
This graphic illustrates the Inbound Marketing methodology. Inbound marketing is made up of four phases—Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. Each phase moves consumers seamlessly through all the customer lifecycle stages: Stranger, Visitor, Lead, Customer, and Promoter.
This is where your potential customers are attracted to your website by creating relevant and valuable content
Marketing techniques to attract the right customers
- Search engine optimisation
- Social media
After attracting visitors to your website. You then convert them into leads.
Tools that can be used to convert visitors into leads
- Landing pages
- Call to actions
This stage is about closing the sale and converting your leads into customers
Tools used to engage and track leads
Inbound marketing is an on-going activity. After you have acquired customers. You need to keep them engaged with fresh content. At this stage, you ensure that your current customers become your company promoters.
Tools used to delight current customers
- Online surveys
- Social monitoring
Building an inbound marketing website
The previous section explained what inbound marketing is and how it can used to drive business growth. If you recall. We did mention that all inbound marketing activities start and end on your website. So, it is very important that your company website is “inbound savvy”.
So you might have a website that looks amazing, but have you ever asked yourself if it really doing what it supposed to do?. More often than not, focus is on the design of a website rather than its substance and functionality. I remember when we started building websites, we focused more on the aesthetics rather than the core functionality. Even the referrals we would get would come us and say, “we want a site that as good looking as the one you did for client XYZ”. Times have changed now, and the online space is very competitive. A great looking site alone won’t cut it. Nor will a static website with basic information and a generic “contact us” page. Aesthetics and functionality need to work hand in hand.
Building a successful website requires an effective, sustained effort which is beyond presenting your products, services, images, or other basic information. That means your website design should be focused on achieving a specific goal and measurable objectives to attain that particular goal.
Your website should be used to educate potential clients about your products and services, to capture new visitors, and to close sales. It is your 24/7 salesman. All things considered, The ultimate goal of any website should be to convert visitors to qualified leads and in turn, converting them into clients or customers. To get ready, your primary concern should be getting your business found on online platforms and converting your site visitors into leads and customers.
Is your business ready for inbound marketing?
We have provided a checklist of critical questions that you need to ask yourself before going ahead with inbound marketing.
The next series of articles will explore the different techniques that are used in the four different stages of the inbound marketing methodology.