What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is the secret sauce of attracting customers and turning them into leads and loyal customers. Unlike outbound marketing that relies on advertising, cold-calling and door-to-door sales people, inbound marketing is about attracting customers with the type of content that interests them. Inbound marketing focuses on lead nurturing over time across multiple channels.

Have a look at our handy diagram and explanations below to see what inbound marketing is all about.

What is inbound marketing?

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If you wouldn’t catch a fish with an old boot, then how can you catch customers with the wrong type of bait?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that people hate being interrupted by advertising. There’s nothing worse than an intrusive pop-up ad in the best bit of the online video you’re watching. Worse still, when you pop to the loo and see an advertisement on the back of the door.

Think of this type of advertising like the old boot (and the type you need to give the boot to). It’s time to go fishing with the type of content that interests your potential customers. Attract them with content that is I.R.T – Interesting, Relevant and Timely. Inbound marketing is about creating online content that interests your audience, addresses their problems/urgent needs and helps them achieve what they want.

Have you ever given a company your email address so you could download a free e-book? Have you ever visited a blog and found it so interesting that you’ve ended up becoming a customer? These are examples of inbound marketing. Instead of ‘pushing’ your message to your potential customers (with TV, radio, billboard or print advertising), your customers have searched for your content online.

How do potential customers find you online? Through your blog, a search engine and social media.

 

Benefits of inbound marketing

It doesn’t take much to convince business owners that customers need to be able to find their business online. Instead of throwing seeds on the ground, ad-hoc, and hoping they will grow into trees, inbound marketing is a ‘systematic approach’ to planting the right seeds, for the right buyers and getting the right harvest.

What are the benefits of inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is cost effective:
Got a small marketing budget and want to get the most ‘bang for your buck’? Statistics show that ‘inbound leads cost 61% less than traditional/outbound leads’ (HubSpot, 2012).

Grows traffic to your website:
A report shows that 55% of companies say that growing their website traffic is their top marketing priority (State of Inbound, 2017). By publishing blog content that relates to your target audience, you can improve your Google rankings and increase your website traffic. Inbound marketing can turn those visitors into leads and sales.

Converts visitors to customers:
The beauty of inbound marketing is that it not only attracts online visitors, but also has a methodology for turning them into leads and customers. A survey found that the top marketing priority for 70% of companies, over the next 12 months, is to convert contacts or leads to customers (State of Inbound, 2017).

 

Four easy steps to inbound marketing success:

You’ve heard the benefits of inbound marketing and, about this time, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great! But it all looks too hard for me”. I’ve got good news for you. Inbound marketing is easy and anyone can do it.

Here are four easy steps for turning your online visitors to leads and customers:

1. Attract:

The first step of inbound marketing is to determine the type of customer you want to visit your website. Think of this step as ‘audience segmentation’. You don’t just want traffic, but you want the right type of traffic. The right traffic will be more likely to become a lead and a customer. Get to know your ideal customers and target audience by creating buyer personas and focusing your content on these personas. Click here to download a Buyer Persona Cheat sheet, a must-have resource for helping you attract the right target audience online.

Once you’ve created your buyer personas, it’s time to create the right type of content to attract visitors to your site.

Blogging:
The single most important way of attracting new visitors to your website. Create content that is right for your target audience and addresses their needs.

Did you know that companies who publish 4 blog posts per week get approximately 4.5 times more leads than those who publish 0-1post every week (HubSpot, 2017)?

SEO:
Where do customers start when they buy online? A Google search. How does your website rank on Google? Are you using the right search terms and keywords that will attract customers to your website? Remember, the saying… You can’t catch fish with an old boot.

A study found that a Number #1 on Google gets 33% of search traffic for a particular keyword (Search Engine Watch, 2013).

Social Media:
Which social media networks do your ideal customers use? Do they connect with the visual content on Instagram or look for thought leaders on LinkedIn? Find out where your ideal customer ‘hangs out’ online and use buyer personas to create social content that helps them achieve their goals and solve their unique challenges.

 

2. Convert

A visitor has found your website, but may not be ready to make an immediate sale. Don’t miss out on your opportunity with this potential customer. Here are a few of the most effective ways to capture their details and start a conversation:

Landing pages:
A landing page is the entry point for your website or a section of your website. It’s the page that visitors ‘land on’. Many online businesses make the mistake of only having one home page that is meant to appeal to all customers. Different landing pages relate to the buyer personas you created.

Ever heard of the NSAMCWADLP principle? Although it’s a tricky one that no one would ever remember (or use in conversation!) it has a fantastic meaning – ‘Never start a marketing campaign without a dedicated landing page (Unbounce, 2017).

What can a landing page do?

  • Capture visitor email addresses. It’s your opportunity to get permission to send visitors email marketing and get the conversation started.
  • Get visitors to fill out a form and receive a free e-book or create specific calls to action. Some of these calls-to-action include:
    • Sign up form
    • Get more information
    • Free trial
    • Get started
    • Download a free e-book
    • Download a whitepaper

 

3. Close:

This is where everything is leading up to and it is about turning leads to customers. Two of the most common ways to achieve this is:

Email marketing:
Email marketing gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your potential customer. Give them interesting and engaging content including tips, inspiration, give-aways and exclusive discounts.

Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016) (Source: HubSpot, 2017).

Customer Relationship Management:
Keep track of your leads with a marketing database. HubSpot is a power-packed CRM that allows you to keep interactions with your contacts; whether by social media, your blog, email or a landing page; all in one place.

 

4. Promoters

Surveys:
Want to know what your customers need? Ask them. Feedback and surveys are a great way for you customise your content, services and products to meet your customer’s needs.

Social Monitoring:
Keep up with what your customers are saying online. Answer their questions and find out about their likes and dislikes. This is your chance for your brand to stay ‘front of mind’ with your customers. Social media is a terrific avenue for your customers to promote (or kill) your brand. Keep chatting to them and build relationships with your customers.

 

As you can see, by creating content that’s aligned with your customer’s interests, you can naturally attract traffic to your business and, with more time and nurture, convert visitors into customers.

 

Need help to create a winning inbound marketing strategy or want advice about turning your online visitors to customers? Call Eightball Media today on 07 3122 9888.

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