Inbound Marketing: How It Helps Your Business?
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Hello to all the upcoming entrepreneurs! Do you have an amazing product to sell that could solve the problems of your target audience? But are confused as to how to put out your product promotion without sounding too salesman-y? Or do you want to increase your consumer base by giving them a reason to stick by your brand?
You could try inbound marketing to ‘bring in’ sales and potential customers. Instead of broadcasting to the customer, like how marketing was done previously, inbound marketing focuses on creating reasons for the customer to come to you.
Previously, companies used to focus largely on outbound marketing which included buying radio and TV ads, running print ads, cold-calling, advertising on billboards, or sponsoring a booth at a tradeshow. Here the aim was to ‘put out’ the marketing message to a given audience in the hope of a response or a lead.
There is always a debate going around about inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. But one should know that focusing on inbound marketing doesn’t mean that we don’t require all the strategies of outbound marketing. Instead, inbound marketing is there to enhance and supplement the latter. This is because, using inbound marketing strategies, your consumers won’t feel like they’re being sold to.
So, to all the fellow entrepreneurs, inbound marketing is a powerful weapon at your disposal because you have the power to give the searcher/consumer exactly what answers they are looking for at the exact point that they need it in their life.
Now that you got a gist as to what the terminology is all about, let’s get a little bit professional and understand in detail about the world of inbound marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
In simple terms, inbound marketing refers to the process of helping potential customers find your company. The aim is to empower consumers to reach their goals at any stage in their journey with you. It generally takes place before the customer is even ready to make a purchase, but making an early contact with the potential consumer can turn your brand as an ‘option’ to a ‘preference’ and, ultimately, leads and revenue.
Within this marketing type, many forms of ‘pull marketing’ strategies are included, such as content marketing, blogs, events, search engine optimization (SEO), social media etc. This is done to create brand awareness and attract new business.
The content created under inbound marketing aims to be educational, entertaining, and so is welcomed by customers. And when a potential customer finds your company the organic way, it stays with them forever. Inbound marketing allows you to generate qualified leads for much less money than traditional marketing.
But budding entrepreneurs also need to keep in mind that 2.6 quintillion bytes of data are produced per day and so many potential customers may already know most of the things about anything. Where should you then focus your energy on? Visibility. Brand visibility, to be more specific.
The inbound marketing strategy can be applied in three ways: Attract, Engage and Delight. And when the three of them work in harmony, it creates a self-sustaining flywheel loop, which becomes an asset for your company.
But before we jump into the flywheel model, let’s understand as to why companies are investing themselves in inbound marketing.
Importance of Inbound Marketing
71% of all the major companies around the world are into inbound marketing. Inbound marketing can solve common problems such as follows:
Low Brand Awareness
A majority of purchases begin with an online search and so if your company arrives at the topmost search results, then bingo! You can organically increase your brand’s awareness. With the help of the right content and messaging in place, up your brand awareness in key inbound channels.
Improve Brand Preference
By providing the potential customers with educating, entertaining, and interactive content you can influence their purchase options before they have even made one. You should never undermine the power of becoming a familiar face.
Is the Investment Worth It?
It is a long term investment that gradually builds itself over time. And it will continue to multiply the results as you get more adept at creating and curating content that naturally attracts organic leads.
And apart from being much more effective than outbound marketing, inbound marketing helps with other things such as:
As mentioned earlier, inbound marketing gives answers to potential customers in a creative and engaging way. Showcasing your brand as a useful and reliable source can increase trust when the need to purchase arises.
It creates a pathway for bringing in qualified leads as you target customers throughout the buyer’s journey, by aligning content with the kinds of products or services you offer.
Saves you money
Inbound marketing saves you a load of time and money because there are many tools to assist you in doing repetitive tasks like sending emails, schedule social media posts, monitoring brand mentions etc.
With inbound marketing, you can monitor real-time conversions thereby judging out whether your strategies are working or not and how much revenue is coming through.
Inbound marketing gives you space to apply integrated campaigns for increasing brand visibility. This type of marketing allows you to promote your brand across numerous different complementary platforms, from SEO to PPC, blogging, social media and more.
The Flywheel Model
Before the development of the flywheel model, there was the funnel model. Funnel models can produce customers, but don’t consider how customers can help your company grow. But over the years, companies like HubSpot have chosen the flywheel model. Why? This is because the flywheels leverage their momentum to keep spinning.
3 things are core to the flywheel model
- Attract: Bringing in the right people with creative content and conversations establishes you as a trusted advisor with whom they want to engage.
- Engage: When you present solutions and insights that align with the troubles of the consumers, they become more inclined to buy your products.
- Delights: this aligns with providing help and support to empower your consumers to find success with their purchase. And when consumers share their success with others, it creates a loop, known as the flywheel.
Delivering exceptional customer experience to retain customers by using certain strategies you create forces for your flywheel. But there are certain things that act as friction and often that happens to be handoffs between teams, so alignment and communication between teams are key to keeping your flywheel spinning.
Try to find out as to where the consumers are finding a difficulty in interacting with your company and organize team goals around it. Makes sure that the teams have a same vision so that the customers don’t get confused with different messages.
Keeping the above model in mind, let’s see at some proven strategies that can improve your business prospects.
Attract the Potential Consumer
For targeting the potential customer, you have to know who are your customers and what is it that they want to know. For this, you need to create an insightful buyer persona. You can use Google Analytics and other insights to do so.
And then survey your consumers by sending them simple forms and questionnaires. Doing an industry research will also be helpful to know what your competitors are up to. In doing so, you can pinpoint your specialty and fill in the holes in your industry.
Once you understand the troubles of your customer, you can focus on ‘attracting strategies’. These include creating and publishing content like blogs, content offers, social media etc. They can include stuff like how to use your products, information about how your solution can solve their challenges, customer testimonials, and details about promotions or discounts.
You can optimize your content game by applying SEO strategies which will require you to target specific keywords and phrases related to your products or services, the challenges you solve for customers, and the ways you can help your target consumer base.
Set up an editorial calendar to ensure that you are publishing and promoting content on a regular basis. Go for PPC campaigns using keyword research, strategic bidding, and a compelling advertisement.
Other ways to ‘Attract’ Consumers are
- Begin with a great heading as it will be the first thing to catch people’s eye.
- Include different types of media in your content which uses charts, infographics, images etc.
- Use story-telling to your advantage.
- Free content is the key.
- Host webinars and podcasts frequently.
- Do guest posting, for it will provide with backlinks, authority in the space, and relationships with key influencers.
- Grow your email lists.
Groove became a million-dollar company by improving its content strategy game and using the above guidelines as well.
Maintain the Engagement
Engaging strategies are those wherein you are communicating and dealing with leads and customers in a way that makes them want to build long-term relationships with your brand. While using these strategies, make sure that you inject information about the value your business will provide them with.
Successful companies are ahead in their game because they excel during each stage of the customer lifecycle. Engagement strategies aim at the ‘convert and close’ aspect of marketing.
Let us look at some of the engagement strategies which you can undertake for your overall inbound marketing.
- Invest in creating a superb customer care service, so that your consumer won’t feel left out when in trouble.
- Use your social media presence to engage and communicate with your consumers to form strong bonds.
- You can use in-product messaging to target your most loyal consumers, who are eagerly waiting for your next launch.
- Use your strategies for ‘dazzling’ VIP customers with promotions made specifically for them. VIP customers are loyal, have loved your product and have further referred them to their friend’s circle. And retaining them should be one of your utmost priority.
- Try crafting a custom content for addressing a bugging consumer question.
- Try creating mobile apps for your consumers to ease them with their shopping cycle.
- You can also try creating amazing landing pages that aims at a desired user action.
Birchbox helps the buyers in their customer journey by asking customers what their skin and hair types are, which helps the company personalize products in their monthly subscription boxes.
After you have acquired a potential consumer, the aim is to create a long-term, reciprocal relationship of value for both you and your customer. Always try to be solution selling, rather than product selling. In this way, your consumers will be put into the thinking that you care about them.
Delight Them Up
And finally, we are at the final stage of inbound marketing where you need to ensure that your customers are happy, satisfied, and supported long after they make a purchase. It is a means of building brand loyalty. It can help bring in upselling from your existing consumers and drive-in new ones as well.
Some of the methods you can implement are
- Send follow-up emails to your consumers based on their activity and purchase on your pages. If done at the right time, it can bring in upselling.
- Make use of well-timed chatbots to assist consumers about upcoming products.
- Use surveys and feedback forms to understand your customer satisfaction and also get insights on their recommendations.
- Constantly keep upgrading your products and additionally help customers by providing them with the right educational resources.
- Engage in social media listening for better aims at achieving consumer delight.
- Be unexpected and go beyond being another salesman in the market. You can do so by personalizing each customer interaction and installing a customer-centric culturewithin all parts of your company.
- Apply referral programs for current customers to promote your product or service.
- Build a community as people enjoy the feeling of belonging to a community or group. Your company can usher in a positive feeling through community management, or by creating a user community that benefits your customers.
One can take the example of Sephora’s Beauty Insider Loyalty Program which provides for cool stuff like in-store beauty services, free beauty classes, access to the Insider Community, and a birthday gift.
An inbound strategy that is aimed at delighting the consumers should focus on supporting them in any situation, whether or not your business gets any value out of it. A delighted customer has a heavy potential to become a brand advocate and promoter, so handle all interactions with care.
While you can create your own strategies and apply them or directly follow pre-given strategies, make sure you re-test and refine your strategies from time to time. Marketing strategies keep changing so you need to keep up with the current trends going on.
Analyze customer acquisition cost (CAC) and ratio of customer value to CAC which is the total value that your company derives from each customer, so that you can divide your budget and revenue accordingly.
If you want to create a loyal consumer base while increasing it at the same time, you need to understand their deepest needs, aspirations, and struggles. And you must act on them immediately as well.
Earlier the companies were all about sales. But now everything revolves around the consumer. Brands and companies are investing their strategies to gain more consumer and make them stay loyal to their brand. But in order for the consumers to be loyal, the brand needs to provide them with some rock-solid trust, help and attention so that the customers feel loved and not treated as another sale meat.
Lastly, combine inbound and outbound sale strategies for best results as both complement each other and help your company grow further- revenue-wise and loyal customer wise.
What is meant by inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that is designed to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the hope of lead generation or customers.
What is inbound and outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience. ... Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing, where the customers find you when they need you.
How does inbound marketing work?
Inbound marketing works by attracting the right type of traffic to your brand—the people who will be the most likely to buy what you're selling. ... Once you know your buyer personas, you can work to target them through inbound marketing strategies like content marketing, social media marketing, and keyword strategy.
How do you get inbound leads?
5 Ways To Increase Your Inbound Marketing Leads By A Factor Of 10: 1) Get Found In Organic Searches. 2) Deploy Off-Site SEO Tactics. 3) Use Social Media Properly. 4) Optimize High-Traffic Landing Pages. 5) Use Content Offers Strategically