What is the Inbound Marketing Methodology?
Inbound marketing is one of the more effective types of marketing in the digital age. Typically, companies are transitioning to this type of marketing because outbound marketing efforts, such as direct mail, commercials and telemarketing just aren’t working like it used to.
People have become numb to the constant barrage of what is often referred to as interruptive marketing, so most of it is being tuned out.
With 200 million people on the DO NOT CALL list, 45% of direct mail never even getting opened and more than 85% of people fast forwarding through commercials, it comes as no surprise that businesses are looking for a better way to gain customers.
Inbound marketing is the answer. Instead of trying to attract attention through ads on websites, TV commercials, direct mail campaigns and other types of outbound marketing, you will be earning someone’s attention with inbound marketing.
Definition of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a type of marketing used to earn the interest of a potential customer instead of buying it by pushing services and products. It focuses on creating high quality content to pull people to a company website or product website through blogging, social media and other methods. When the high quality content is published with your potential customer’s interest in mind, you will naturally attract traffic to your website, which can be converted into qualified prospects and sales.
It basically boils down to a new type of marketing representing the opposite of the old school approach. New marketing or inbound marketing allows customers to find you instead of you trying to find them.
Relevant Marketing People Love
The old method of shoving advertising in the faces of potential customers doesn’t work very well. Did you know those under the age of 40 will quickly leave a website if there’s too much advertising on it? People are getting smarter and they know where the advertising is on most websites. It’s becoming easier to tune it out and if there’s too much of it, visitors will just leave.
With relevant content published in the right place, at the right time, you will have the ability to attract customers to your website without interrupting their online experience. Whether you write an excellent blog post and share it on Facebook at the right time or you create the perfect Tweet to lead people to your website, content is the heart of the inbound marketing strategy.
How Inbound Marketing Works
The four major actions which define the Inbound Methodology include: Attract, Convert, Close Delight.
It starts with attracting prospects and you’re not just after any type of traffic. Getting the right traffic makes the difference. You want to attract people who are likely to become a qualified leads and ultimately a customer. This is done through a combination of a few strategies including:
- Blogging – The best possible way to gain visitors to your website is through quality blogging. Educational and informative content will help to answer potential customer’s questions and provide information they need.
- SEO – Without the ability to be found online, your website isn’t going to help you much. Most customers pop onto Google or Yahoo/Bing before they make a buying decision.
- Social Media Publishing – You simply cannot find full success with inbound marketing without publishing your content all across top social media platforms.
- Website Pages – Of course, when a visitor arrives, you have to have engaging content and calls to action to get them to take a next step.
Once you have attracted the right visitors, you will need the right landing pages with an excellent call-to-action ready to convert your visitors into leads. You will also need a way to track your contacts and the right forms to ensure they can submit the necessary information.
After qualifying and creating new leads from the visitors you attract with your content, it’s time to close them and turn them into customers. This part of the process requires close tracking with Customer Relationship Management and closed-loop reporting. You will also need a series of emails to provide even more relevant content to build trust with those not ready to buy immediately. This should all be handled through an automated system to help nurture the lead and turn them into a happy customer.
The final step in the inbound marketing plan is to delight the customer. You cannot just assume your customers are happy. Instead, you can use surveys to find out if they are happy and what they need to become even happier. Other components often used to delight customers include:
- Smart Call-to-Actions – These call-to-actions help to ensure your users get a different call-to-action based on their buying persona.
- Social Monitoring – Keeping track of conversations on social media will help you to find out what your customers like, dislike and their questions and comments. This can lead to great blog content ideas and allow you to really tailor your content to what customers want and need.
- Smart Text – With smart text, you can provide current customers with excellent content customized to fit their interests and needs.
Why Choose Inbound Marketing?
If you want to gain not just website traffic, but highly desirable website traffic, inbound marketing is the right choice. It’s about 10 times more effective than outbound marketing and can bring in a ton of great website traffic, leads and ultimately customers if done correctly. When your business needs to generate more leads and create customer loyalty, inbound marketing provides an excellent strategy to move your marketing and sales in the right direction.