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What is Inbound Marketing?

7 MINUTES TO READ
What is Inbound Marketing?
Summary: Inbound marketing is a subset of Content marketing - we take a look at what it is and how to make it work for your business.

Inbound Marketing

When you hear that 82% of Marketers say that Inbound Marketing gives them positive ROI, and that 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information through a series of articles rather than a single piece of content, you can start to see the power of implementing an Inbound Marketing strategy.

 

Why do you need Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is generally use to help resolve the following problems :

  • Low Brand awareness
  • Weak lead generation
  • Constrained marketing budget

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is designed to build relationships with a specific target customer persona as they move through your sales funnel. It is predicated on high quality content at every step of the process.

Sales Funnel

 

 

How to implement an Inbound Marketing strategy

1. Research and document your Buyer Persona

You may have 1, or maybe 3, but ideally no more than 5.

Inbound marketing is all about building connections with people so that they are happy to move to the next stage of your process. You can only achieve this if you speak to people who you are interacting with in a consistent way, that relates to them and the problems they are trying to resolve.

For the best results, find ways to talk to customers so that your persona is based on research, rather than being a made up entity.

 

2. Start at the bottom of the funnel with helpful email campaigns

If you start building your Inbound Marketing campaign from the end, you will build your Inbound Marketing campaign towards people like the ones who already know you.

Also, email marketing is still considered the Digital Marketing strategy that delivers the best ROI, (Oberlo research reports an average return of $42 for every $1 spent), so it’s a good place to start for more than 1 reason.

Warning – Don’t become a spammer!

Segment your email list by funnel stage – new, contacts, customers, repeat customers, and lapsed. Determine an appropriate frequency with which to speak to each group and then craft useful and engaging messages for each segment.

 

3. Demonstrate your expertise with middle of the funnel content

Middle of the funnel content is all about demonstrating your authority in your subject matter. Depending on your business, this could be content such as :

  • White Papers or Articles
  • Blogs
  • Landing Pages
  • Email
  • Photos, Videos or Podcasts
  • Interviews
  • EBooks
  • Education (how to use your product)
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Showcase of new innovations

Don’t underestimate the power of third party content in the middle of the funnel – people trust the endorsement of the words of others when they are considering whether to engage with you. Customer endorsements can be showcased via reviews, testimonials or client interviews.

 

4. Attract and engage prospects at the top of the funnel

Top of funnel content is all about catching people’s eye / stopping the scroll sufficiently that your prospect wants to find out more. Off-line activity such as Trade Shows, Public Speaking and Networking can form an important part of these strategies, as does Social Media, SEO and Paid Ads.

Social Media :

With 3.5bn users worldwide, and particularly high usage amongst the younger generations, Social Media cannot be ignored. Here is an extract from an recent article by GWI that illustrates :

Social medai usage by platform and generation
Source – GWI – Social Media by Generation

Social Media can become a time bandit if you are not focused and intentional about what you do, so …

  • Research which platforms your customers spend their time on
  • Post useful and engaging content that re-enforces your website
  • Show your personality – authenticity is important
  • Don’t miss the opportunity for a call to action!

SEO :

SEO is all about getting found on Google. Google owns 86% of all global online search, so whilst you can consider other platforms, Google is the behemoth. The top components to consider for Inbound Marketing are your Keyword Research and the MetaData for each page of your site.

Your metadata doesn’t show on your website, but is the copy that comes up in Google when one of your pages comes up in search, so it’s worth spending the time making sure that it describes clearly what you do and why people should visit your site.

Paid Ads :

In the physical world, Ads are all about getting as many eyeballs on them as possible, on the basis that some people who see them will engage. In the digital world, you can be much more targeted than this, based on geography, demographics and behaviours – this is why we consider Paid Ads as part of your Inbound Marketing funnel.

If you need quick results, or are launching a new product, Google, TV or Social Media Ads can be highly targeted and very effective. Remember that Google looks at the quality and relevance of your Ad content to your website, as well as what you are paying, before deciding whether to surface your Ad in response to a search; so as with all other elements for Inbound Marketing, quality over quantity is important.

 

5. Measure and adapt

Setting and forgetting is a Digital Marketing sin. The internet is a dynamic place, so always set yourself targets and measure your performance against those targets. AB test what you can, regularly check your progress and adapt your campaigns where you need to.

 

What’s the difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

Outbound Marketing is about broadcasting your message to as many people as possible, with little advanced qualification. Traditionally, this is tactics such as cold calling, door to door sales and billboards.

Draw vs Attention grabbing. Inbound marketing draws you in through valuable, relevant content throughout the customer journey, whereas outbound marketing broadcasts content with the attention of capturing attention.

Defined vs Undefined. Inbound marketing is targeted at a specific audience, whereas outbound is targeted to a wide audience.

Followed vs Unasked

Consumers are invited to follow businesses on Social Media, which allows the platforms to present more of that company’s posts to their followers in their feeds. There is no equivalent method for consumers to control the outbound marketing they see.

 

Summary

Inbound Marketing is a highly effective form of Content Marketing as it is targeted, and is designed to progress people through your customer journey. It also works better and better over time as it helps to win trust and foster loyalty.

If you’d like to know more about Inbound Marketing and how it can work for you and your business, we’d love to chat with you.

 

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