Introducing Inbound Marketing

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“Inbound is fundamentally changing the way the world does business and shifting the way the world does marketing and sales”.
- Hubspot 

Let’s ease you in to this traditional vs. digital marketing face-off with two quick fire questions:  

  1. Have you ever heard of Inbound Marketing? 
  2. Are you bothered? 

If the answer to both of these is a resounding ‘No’, then it’s time you changed this. 

Traditional outbound marketing, like cold calling, display ads or spammy emails, are interruptive. The message is rarely relevant to you at that exact moment. When a sales person calls you out of the blue with a defined script, you hardly feel valued to them. Or when you’re shown a jarring display advert when you’re reading a serious article, you feel annoyed.

The traditional marketing experience for the buyer is very dated and is company centric, not customer centric. It’s not personalised based on your specific problems and requirements.

Imagine you went to the opticians and they gave you a prescription for glasses without testing your eyesight first. Aside from not being able to see very well, you’d feel like as a potential purchaser the experience didn't consider your specific problem. Therefore conversion rates for these traditional methods are typically a numbers game, rather than generating customers as advocates of your brand.

The solution is inbound marketing

To create brand advocates you have to move away from traditional marketing and into the brave new world that is inbound marketing. Or to put it another way; marketing that is customer focused and helpful. Driving people to you with relevant content and a defined conversion cycle.

You may already have a blog, social media and email marketing as part of your content marketing strategy, but are these tools fully aligned with your buyer cycle? Are your content and channel strategies framed in the context of the people you’re most interested in targeting? Buyers typically go through three stages when purchasing something new:

  • Awareness – I have a problem.
  • Consideration – I am considering methods and approaches to resolve my problem.
  • Decision – Based on my research I can solve my problem with X or Y, but X may be better.

To be considered by the buyer you need to attract people to your resources and to be considered you need to be considering them. That’s a lot of considerations. But don’t worry it’s quite a straightforward methodology:

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The goal is to convert Strangers to Promoters with relevant content and experiences. At all stages customers want to feel educated to make informed decisions. By not focusing on sales but experience you’re ultimately making them more likely to purchase from you and rave about you to their friends. Win, win.

Harnessing inbound marketing

So you’ve now heard of inbound and you want a piece of this pie. There are three key steps to harnessing inbound:

  1. The first step is to know who your customers are, who you want your future customers to be and who can help you get there. Define these as Buyer Personas, indicating their demographics, goals and challenges. Then create content that you want them to see and leverage it with distribution i.e. making sure you get it in front of them when they need it.
  2. Once you are driving more Visitors to your content, you can track returning visitor interactions and try to capture their information to target more specific offerings to them, to increase the change of them converting from Leads to Customers.
  3. One you’ve closed a deal, continue to delight them with relevant content so that they become Promoters and attract Strangers to your content, and so the process begins all over again.

Inbound marketing is all about pulling people in. Having the right content, in the right place, at the right time is the difference between converting a lead and them having never heard of you. Inbound allows you to be found (and it sort of rhymes, which helps).

Traditional marketing is dying because it hasn’t adapted to the new consumer mindset. Buying decisions take time and should be nurtured with relevant, customised experiences. So if you don’t start using inbound techniques, together with targeted outbound follow ups, your leads will reduce.

On that bombshell… what’s next?

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This is the first in a series of resources on inbound that we’ll be producing for you lovely people, so if you have any comments or feedback we’d be delighted to hear from you. Add a comment below or tweet us @Perceptiveflow

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