If you have been following the marketing trends closely, you would have probably heard about inbound marketing. The market has become more responsive to the customers need than ever before, and that’s where the concept of inbound marketing took birth. Here we shall discuss what is Inbound marketing, stages of inbound marketing, and much more.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a business methodology used to attract customers organically by creating rich content such as blogs, infographics, white papers, etc. It relies on the pull factor of marketing rather than the push factor, which was traditionally used by marketers. It is dependent upon and us complementary to search engine optimization (SEO) and utilizes Social Media Marketing, content marketing, blogs, seminars and much more. So it involves a more humanistic approach to marketing and identifying your buyer personas and their different needs.
What is Buyer Persona?
As a marketer, your primary aim is to understand your target market so that you can develop your product and content strategy accordingly. For that, you need to understand your customers as well as prospective customers very well. This is where creating a buyer persona comes in. It refers to the imaginary or fictional characters which are generalized representations of your ideal customers. It is useful for all the departments in the company, the marketing team, sales team, products and services. It allows you to deliver the right products and services to your customers by creating segments of your core targets on the basis of age group, geographic location, interests, designation, and other factors. Hence writing down buyer persona is essential for marketers to deliver the right message to the consumers.
To create a strong and effective buyer persona, you need to conduct detailed market research and gather insights you receive by actually interviewing a sample of your audience base.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
To understand inbound marketing in greater depth, it is important that you understand the vital differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing. You must have heard and used outbound marketing tactics. While inbound marketing refers to the strategy based on drawing customers based on strong and compelling content, outbound marketing consists of directly going out and marketing to them. Most of the marketers are now familiar with inbound marketing and have ruled out outbound marketing out of their marketing playbooks. But the question is that is dispelling outbound marketing completely out of marketing strategy the right decision for your business? Well, the importance of outbound marketing might have reduced, but it is not going to stop anytime soon.
You can, in fact, use the positive aspects of both inbound marketing and outbound marketing to create a combined marketing strategy. The strength of inbound marketing lies in attracting customers without being too pushy or intrusive. But the issue with this strategy is that it might attract a lot of traffic to your website which is actually not relevant. This is where outbound marketing would be relevant, it would use tactics which would attract lesser traffic by retaining only the customers who are interested in your product or service. You can use various outbound marketing strategies such as banners, cold email marketing, sales calls, etc. These tactics will help you to reach your customers and place them directly into your sales funnel.
The Inbound Marketing Methodology: How Inbound Marketing Works
Imagine you have a website which is drawing traffic of thousands daily. Sounds a happy situation, right? Not exactly! They visit, and maybe some of them will go through your content. But, what next? Without an inbound strategy, the visitors coming to your site will remain just that- visitors. Their chances of converting to customers will be less and clearly, the message about your product or service wasn’t delivered to them as they intended to.
This is where inbound marketing becomes necessary. It uses non-disruptive and persuasive techniques by creating unique experiences for the users through content that is just tailored for them. It depends upon building a relationship of trust with the customers and provide solutions for the problems they are already facing.
Now the question arises where does the inbound strategy fit in the marketing and sales, i.e, where does it start and where does it end. The truth is that the process of inbound marketing never really stops, it continues even after the sales has been made to the customer. It is by maintaining positive relations with the old customers and providing them with after-sales services and making them feel empowered.
So inbound marketing is really a cyclical process, which goes on even after the sales is made. So the sales, marketing and services teams must always be on their toes to serve the current as well the prospective customers.
The inbound process can be roughly divided into three stages:
- Attract: You might have a lot of traffic coming to the website. But it is of no use if you are not able to please your visitors through relevant content at the right time. After all, you want them to convert into customers, right? So, like in any relationship, in inbound marketing too, the first stage is attraction.
To begin with, you should use a content marketing strategy to build authority in your industry and rank for the topics which matter the most to your customers. You can use a combination of content, such as blogs, videos, and social media in this stage. You can use social media to create ads to reach out to your audience to create awareness about your brand.
Some of the tools which can be used in this stage:
- Engage: The next stage is to build a meaningful relationship with your prospective customer by keeping them engaged through meaningful content. You must use the channels your prospective customer would like, such as emails, bots, live chats, etc. You can use a marketing automation tool such as HubSpot to use conversion tools such as CTA’s, forms, lead flows, etc. to capture the information of the prospects visiting your site.
Some of the tools which would be effective during this stage are:
|Lead Flows||Email Marketing|
|Lead Management||Conversational bots|
- Delight: This is the last stage of the customer in the sales journey, and probably the most important one. You must keep your customers engaged with to provide them with information which they would like to receive. So you can use various tools such as social media, email marketing and marketing automation tools to deliver the right information to the right person at the right place.
Some tools you can use to create memorable content for your customers:
|Smart Content||Email Marketing|
|Conversational Inbox||Attribution Reporting|
The correct inbound marketing strategy if incorporated into your own marketing strategy can yield great results for your business and take it to greater heights. We hope you found this post informational. Do let us know if you have any doubt regarding any topic, or want us to cover more topic regarding inbound marketing.