Inbound marketing isn’t just a buzz term – it’s something all businesses should be doing to ensure they sell as much as they can. Inbound marketing is vastly different from traditional marketing, which revolved around the ‘hard sell’, and in our opinion inbound marketing is much better than traditional methods. First a quick recap on what inbound marketing involves…
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a relatively new term and defines publishing high quality content on your website that entices your customers to find out more about your company. If you publish content your customers are interested in, then you will attract high traffic to your site. If you continue to impress these readers, over time they will learn to trust you and potentially buy from you.
This new form of digital marketing is a distinctive step away from traditional marketing – or ‘outbound marketing’ where you push advertising on to your customers in the hope they will buy. Instead, you give customers what they want, establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field so that, when customers want a product like yours, they think of you first.
Inbound marketing is about asking the customer for permission to advertise. Firstly, you communicate with the customer on the customer’s own terms. Next, you answer questions and fulfil needs your customers have.
This method will hopefully turn into a sale at the end.
What are the benefits of inbound marketing?
If done well, there are numerous benefits to inbound marketing. It helps you to shape your brand and influence your customers so they purchase from you.
If you publish high quality content, it also results in other people linking to your website and these backlinks create valuable ‘link juice’ that can see your website move higher up in the Google rankings.
Inbound marketing also helps your customers feel empowered and in control – and if they feel they are making informed decisions, they are much more likely to want to buy from you.
Publishing content regularly through inbound marketing also gets the voice of your brand out there into the online world and this, in turn, increases your brand awareness. Of course, as you continue to publish high quality content, your Google rankings will continue to increase too – inbound marketing is great for SEO!
These aren’t the only benefits – years ago, companies would spend thousands of dollars on a short television commercial in an attempt to reach potential customers. These days, inbound marketing is very low cost – if you can create the content in-house it needn’t cost you anything at all!
And of course, having your company’s information online means customers can engage with your business whenever they feel like it. You’ll have a presence long after you shut up shop for the night.
How does inbound marketing integrate with sale processes?
The ethos behind inbound marketing strategy is to attract the customer, convert them, and then close the sale.
Let’s talk about these three steps in a little more detail.
1. Attracting the customer
It helps to think of inbound marketing as a sales funnel. At the top is where you attract potential customers. You do this through creating your high quality content, using social media to advertise the content, and optimising your content for SEO so it can be found online.
Through these methods, you attract potential customers to your website.
2. Converting your customers
When you have your readers hooked, you want to keep them entertained and lead them into a conversion mode. To do this, use follow-up emails, and create buyer personas from the information you collect from these potential customers. Continue providing the potential clients with interesting content that’s relevant to them and you can keep score on how interested your audience is.
It doesn’t hurt to give away something for free – whether that’s an e-book or white paper – to help the conversion process. Once you’ve converted someone, you need to ‘nurture’ them until they are ready to buy.
3. Closing the sale
You don’t want to do the hard sell too early on in the game, otherwise you might scare your customers away. This is why you need to keep track of what your audience is doing so you can see when they are becoming increasingly interested in what you have to say.
Continue to build on the relationship you’re forming with your potential clients until you feel they are ready to buy from you. You can build the relationship by providing helpful and honest answers to any queries and not bombarding the potential customers with too much information at once.