What Is Inbound Marketing?
If you’re running a business of any sort, you’ve probably heard of inbound marketing This type of marketing is a methodology focusing on the creation of content in order to attract leads and convert them into customers made popular by Hubspot. Basically, most people are already looking for particular goods and services online; inbound marketing helps those people to find your company and the solutions it offers.
Some examples of inbound marketing tactics include blog posts, SEO, lead magnets, email marketing, and social media to name a few.
Inbound marketing focuses on using online platforms and strategies to attract new customers. As a result, it is very much about driving organic traffic to the company’s online assets to capture leads, leads who can be nurtured and in turn, make purchases.
This type of marketing is very appealing to most companies because it can be cost-effective and is statistically more effective than outbound—or traditional—marketing because it’s not disruptive. Some examples of outbound marketing include TV advertisements, cold calling, radio ads, cold emailing, etc. As you can see, these outbound forms of marketing require a great deal more effort and are much more expensive than inbound marketing strategies.
The fact that inbound marketing is so affordable makes it easier for smaller companies to compete with much larger ones. For example, SEO content that ranks at the top of Google can help a small company to get many more leads than larger companies that are lower down in the search engine results. This can offer a significant competitive advantage and ultimately, revenue.
When you create content that is interesting and directly relevant to your potential customers, you have a better chance of grabbing their attention. There are four important stages for inbound marketing that you need to know.
This is the first stage of the inbound marketing process and it is all bringing customers to you by providing the right type of content, in the right place, at the right time.
For example, when it comes to the content on your company's blog or website, the type of content that you have on it is extremely important as well as who it is meant for. You should not write for a general audience, but rather, specific buyer personas. These personas will highlight the specific pain points of your potential customers and address all of them. You will need to identify your demographic and write specifically for those people in order to attract a higher percentage of customers.
In order to attract customers, you will have to focus on who you are trying to attract, providing them valuable content, and optimizing it so they can actually find it.
Once you’ve attracted the right people with your content, you can convert them into a sale. This is usually where landing pages and lead magnets come in. The convert stage officially brings a prospect into your ecosystem, making their contact information available to you as an asset. Now you have the opportunity to nurture them and hopefully make them a customer.
The third stage in inbound marketing is closing. There can be some significant gaps between the convert stage and the close stage where you nurture the prospect and build the relationship between individual and brand, so don’t fret if it doesn’t happen right away. People are more conscious of how and where they spend money these days, so relationship building is key.
The final stage of inbound marketing is to delight your customers, even after they have purchased your product or service. They should continue to be shown great content that not only continues to help them but turns them into fans of your business. Happy customers lead not only to higher customer lifetime value, but also to more customers!
You should never just stop interacting with a person after they have purchased and your business should always aim to delight every customer. Some tools that you can use for this stage include surveys, personalized content, social media, and trigger marketing.
Inbound marketing is truly effective when done right. Most companies focus heavily on the “attract” phase and then don’t put solid strategies in place to convert, close and delight. Hubspot’s methodology is just another tool you can utilize to scale your business.
Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage
Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.