By Gem Latimer | March 18 2016
The marketing scene has changed more in the past two years than in the last 50. Here we take a look at inbound and the future of marketing for companies wanting to grow better.
Inbound is the new and friendly approach to marketing activities. It has proven to be much more efficient and cost effective than outbound techniques (such as print advertising and cold calling), hence why more businesses today are deciding to switch their marketing methods to inbound.
In fact, research suggests you get up to 54% more leads when using inbound marketing vs outbound. Old marketing techniques such as cold calling are becoming less popular among organisations because calls can be blocked due to advanced technology, therefore becoming less effective.
Inbound is the future for marketing successfully, however it’s not just businesses that prefer inbound marketing. It’s also the general public.
The strategy behind inbound is creating content that people will love, attracting visitors to your website rather than having to chase potential customers, which can be seen as aggressive, therefore putting them off your company and its products or services.
In addition, if the potential customer shows an interest in your business and if you treat them correctly, there's a greater chance of them buying your product or service. It's very important when using inbound marketing to value your customers, no matter if they’re existing or potential buyers. Customer satisfaction is key to generating more business.
Forming a relationship between your organisation and the person you’re dealing with is crucial as you want them to feel special, not just one of the many customers you may deal with. One way in which you can make your customer feel valued is by personalising the emails you send to them by addressing he/she by their real name. Small changes like this can go a long way.
Before you start marketing your product or service you must know your client base, what your clients want, and how to satisfy their needs. You should create a customer persona that allows you to understand your client.
A customer persona (or buyer persona) is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
If you attract the right audience you are more likely to boost sales and increase revenue. On the other hand, if you don’t attract the right people then you will be wasting your time marketing to an audience who won’t be interested in what you’re selling, therefore it's important you do your research on your buyer personas.
Once you’ve researched and decided on your buyer persona, the next important process of inbound marketing is to understand the customer-centric strategy. This process consists of three stages, attract, engage, and delight.
The attract stage is about drawing strangers to your site and providing them with value by creating content that they find interesting or helpful. One example of using content to attract strangers to your site could be an article aligned to the keywords or topic cluster they were searching for.
The engage stage turns your visitors into leads by gathering their contact information when providing them with an offer or deal in exchange. Whatever you’re offering to the visitor must be proportional to the value of having their contact details. If what you’re offering isn’t impressive, then the visitor will be less likely to hand over their details. Therefore it's important you offer them something they would like in order to receive the contact information.
Once they become a lead and are ready to buy, marketing software facilitating workflow automation and HubSpot's CRM (customer relation management) platform help nurture and ultimately close the prospect into a customer.
The final stage of the inbound methodology is delight; existing customers can’t be forgotten about but instead delighted with good service and offers. If you provide an outstanding product with an equally outstanding customer service then they might refer your business to others they know which will help spread your brands popularity. This could potentially increase the number of customers your business may have so it is very important to delight all clients at all times, no matter of where they sit in the buyer’s process.
Want to maximise the value from your existing database? Learn more about the eight pillars of delight.
The buyer’s journey is self explanatory; it's the journey the prospect takes from knowing they have a problem to resolving it. The buyer's process helps marketers know where their prospects are in their purchasing decision. It consists of three stages, awareness, consideration and decision.
The awareness stage on the buyer’s process is when the potential customer realises they have a problem that needs resolving.
Once they know they have a problem then they will search for ways in which the problem can be solved, for example searching for solutions on the internet. This is the consideration stage, typically the first stage at which they might look at your business as a means of solving their problem.
Lastly, the decision stage is when the buyer chooses their preferred solution and goes ahead with a purchase.
The buyer’s process is quite straight-forward but gives marketers a good understanding of what stage the prospect is on and how close they are to sealing a deal with them. Use it to inform your content marketing strategy and help the buyer at every stage.
Websites are critical for all businesses, but in order to be recognised by the public, your website needs to be found. One way in which inbound marketing can increase the chances of this is by using search engine optimisation (SEO). This is the process of increasing the visibility of a website in search engine results.
To master search trends and rank higher in Google, remember to include your primary keyword in the page title, H1 header, URL, and meta-description. For articles, long-tail keywords can help, they are keywords that are longer and use more specific phrases that visitors are more likely to use when searching online. They are useful because when a prospect uses a highly specific search phrase, you can better understand their intent and create content that addresses this properly.
Your social strategy is also important for attracting new visitors because most of the world’s population has some form of social network account, therefore if promoted correctly many people across the globe can reach out to your business.
Calls to action (CTAs) are a very useful and effective way to tempt prospects to engage with your content. A call to action is form of advertisement consisting of a line of text and images. It's usually located at the bottom or at the side of a web page and can take a variety of forms, from an ebook or a case study to a call to subscribe. It gets its name because it is quite literally a 'call' for the reader to take an 'action'.
Once a visitor clicks on the CTA, they get taken to a landing page which is where the business will ask for some contact details. If the prospect doesn’t want to hand over their details then they won’t get the offer. If the prospect does hand over their contact details such as their email address then you will have successfully turned the visitor into a lead and who you can potentially contact about further offers in the future.
An inbound marketing strategy is all about making content that people will love and letting the customer come to you, not chasing or harassing them. The content you produce must meet the needs of your buyer personas; if you do this then you’ll get an endless amount of potential customers to help grow your business. Inbound is leading the way for effective marketing results, inbound is the future for expanding businesses.
Interested in learning more about inbound marketing and how you can use it to generate predictable, repeatable revenue growth for you business? Download our free, 80-page ebook below to find out more.
Topics: Inbound Marketing
Inbound enthusiast helping businesses stand out from the crowd and engage both their customers and prospects.
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