Every business asks the same question when it comes to communication – How do you attract the right audience and engage them, so they become lifelong customers? In today’s world of technology, finding the answer to that question has become even more challenging as people are constantly inundated with information and offers about the “next best thing.” In this post, we will dive into the details of inbound marketing and why it’s the best marketing strategy to attract, engage, convert, and retain the right customers for your business.
Chapter 1: Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
To understand why inbound marketing is the best strategy for your business, you must first understand what inbound marketing is and how it is different from outbound marketing.
INBOUND MARKETING attracts customers to your business by creating content and experiences that they find valuable.
OUTBOUND MARKETING feeds potential customers information and content based on what you feel is valuable.
With inbound marketing, customers find your business via the valuable content you produce and share. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is also known as interruption marketing. Outbound marketing operates under the belief that if you feed someone enough information, eventually they will want to do business with you.
A Few Inbound Marketing Stats
If you aren’t convinced that inbound marketing is the answer for generating more business, here are a few statistics to back up the claim that outbound marketing is a strategy of the past:
- 200 million Americans have registered their phone number on the Do Not Call List.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened.
- 86% of people skip television ads.
- 84% of website visitors leave a website because of intrusive ad marketing.
As you can see from these stats, people don’t want to be talked at. Consumers are tired of being suffocated by companies begging for their business. Instead, they want to be educated and provided with solid reasons to utilize a company’s products and services. That’s where inbound marketing comes into play.
Inbound Marketing is Based on Value
As demonstrated by the statistics above, when businesses put out sales ads, offers, and advertisements directly to an audience to convince them to become customers, it doesn’t work. That’s because this style of marketing (outbound marketing) provides little to no value to the potential customer. Inbound marketing, however, operates on a completely opposite mindset. Instead of forcing offers in front of people, inbound marketing educates clients on concepts surrounding a business’s products or services to create a connection that ultimately leads to trust.
Chapter 2: How Inbound Marketing Benefits Your Business
Inbound Marketing has proven to benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes. Internally, it helps streamline sales and marketing processes. Externally, it attracts the right customers, resulting in generating more business and repeat business. Here are a few other ways Inbound Marketing benefits businesses:
Inbound Marketing Leads to Increased Brand Awareness
When you use inbound marketing to reach your potential customers, they learn something valuable about your company and the services or products it provides. As they consume your content and learn about your business, they begin to associate your company directly with whatever type of product or service you sell.
Furthermore, for inbound marketing to work for brand awareness, you must not only produce an abundance of content for your audience, but it has to be valuable, solve a problem, address a pain point, etc. And, every piece of content you create, whether it is a video, social media post, blog post, or podcast should be marked by your brand standards. Meaning, every time your audience consumes your content, they should see your logo and hear your brand values communicated. The more attracted your audience is to your brand (both visually and through content), the more exposure and recognition your brand will receive.
Inbound Marketing Creates Trust
As we discussed before, consumers want to trust and build relationships with the brands they do business with. They want to get to know the faces behind the content and understand the real reasons why they should choose your brand over another. Delivering content to your audience via inbound marketing does just that.
Because people are tired of being bombarded by information, they have turned off their ability to consume content that is delivered to them without their consent. Fortunately, inbound marketing makes content available for your audience to consume on their own terms. Because you’ve created content that your ideal customer is already searching for, on topics that are valuable, and that they can digest on their time, your brand already has a chance at winning their business. Trust is huge in today’s landscape and brands that fail at developing trust will start losing customers if they haven’t already.
Inbound Marketing Generates High-Quality Leads
When a visitor lands on your website as the result of inbound marketing, they are there because they want to be. Your content attracted them there and because of that, they want to learn more about what your brand is and, if possible, try your goods/services for themselves.
Visitors who are on your website because they want to be, are better leads than those who are driven there by force. Curious and engaged visitors will explore your site and what you have to offer and, ultimately, are more likely to buy.
Inbound Marketing Facilitates Sales
In the end, inbound marketing facilitates sales for your business. With inbound marketing instead of working tirelessly trying to convince people to do business with you, they come running when they are ready. If they are ready, it means you have already gained their trust. Then, all you have to do is make the transaction as simple as possible.
Chapter 3: Inbound Marketing In Action
To make inbound marketing work, you have to implement processes to attract, engage, and convert your potential customers. Below we outline the appropriate mediums for each action step and why they make a difference.
Methods of Inbound Marketing to Attract an Audience
Although inbound marketing is unique in its approach, you still have to find the people you want to do business with and communicate with them. The most commonly used methods of attracting an ideal audience with inbound marketing are:
- Blogs: By creating blog posts that demonstrate what your business is about and the type of services you deliver, you give people a reason to visit your website and learn more!
- Social Media: One of the top forms of communication today, social media enables brands to offer information to an audience and create a feeling of trust.
- Intuitive Ads: Platforms like Facebook and Google offer businesses the opportunity to present their information to an audience that is proven to be interested in their specific goods and services.
To successfully attract an audience with these methods of inbound marketing, it is essential to develop a consistent schedule of content delivery, so your potential customers know when and where to find you.
Methods of Inbound Marketing to Engage an Audience
Once you attract your ideal audience and have them at your fingertips, you must continue to communicate with them, or else you will lose them. The most commonly used methods of engaging your ideal audience with inbound marketing are email:
- Podcasts For the auditory learner or the audience member with a long commute, podcasts are a way to engage your audience, without requiring them to stare at a screen.
- Videos/Vlogs Some people like to be both audibly and visibly engaged in content and learn best when they are. For those people, videos are the best option. Furthermore, the fact that 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day should be enough to convince you that videos are a credible marketing tool.
- Infographics People like to consume information as quickly as possible, and there’s no quicker way to deliver valuable information than through a well-designed infographic.
The purpose of engagement is to draw your audience into a deeper relationship with your business so you can use other means of inbound marketing to convert them into customers.
Methods of Inbound Marketing to Convert an Audience
Ideally, every inbound marketing strategy will lead an individual through the lifecycle of your business with the goal of converting them into customers. The most commonly used methods of converting customers through inbound marketing are:
- Email Marketing: Email marketing allows you to strategically segment your audience member and target them with messaging that meets their interests. Therefore, you can easily convert people into customers by sending sales, offers, and information that entices them to buy.
- Landing Pages: If you’ve successfully engaged your audience, they are going to end up on your website. Use strategically designed landing pages with appropriate CTAs to convert them into paying customers.
- Chatbots satisfy society’s need for instant gratification by providing website visitors with the important information they need to make an on-the-spot buying decision.
Implementing each of these methods for converting an audience isn’t easy, but it is essential. You can, however, make it easier by employing an automation tool that requires very little human intervention.
Chapter 4: The Tool for Inbound Marketing Success
It’s no secret that inbound marketing takes a lot of work. Most companies that successfully implement inbound marketing have a whole team of employees dedicated to planning and executing the strategy. Furthermore, successful inbound marketing also requires the use of advanced tools to make it possible to automate inbound marketing processes.
Why HubSpot Works to Execute Inbound Marketing
If you’re looking for a tool that can ultimately improve your sales and marketing operations, HubSpot is a tool to consider. With HubSpot, you can grow the traffic to your site, convert leads, boost your productivity, and improve your ROI.
With HubSpot, you can:
- Build workflows and automate processes like email marketing so you don’t have to be the one to hit the “send” button every time.
- Manage, organize, and segment email lists to improve open and click rates.
- Create, manage, and schedule social media posts so you can avoid visiting each channel each time you have a post.
- Design and build optimized landing pages using forms and workflows to notify the right people when leads interact with your page.
- Develop targeted campaigns and assess their performance in real-time to eliminate using different reporting tools.
- Host your brand’s blog using a template so you don’t have to design something custom when the content is more important.
- View the customer profile and journey using the built-in CRM to track the interests and engagement from each of your customers.
For businesses of any size, it is essential to have a tool like HubSpot in place, so no step of the inbound marketing process is left out and so you don’t have to fool with multiple tools in multiple places.