WHAT IS INBOUND?
SHARING IS IN, SELLING IS OUT.
Traditionally, businesses aimed to advertise their products and services to wide audiences. There was not much regard for a personalized approach. The only objective was to reach as many people as possible.
However, those days are far behind us. The average customer today has access to loads of information. They are smarter, savvier, and more empowered by all the options they have. They decide when, where, and how they will make a purchase. Businesses no longer have the leverage they used to!
That’s why marketing professionals all over the world are moving away from the “shotgun” method of advertising to a more personal and contextualized approach.
This is called INBOUND — a more human and helpful way to do marketing.
HubSpot was the first to introduce the term “INBOUND” over a decade ago. According to them, INBOUND is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust.
INBOUND is a better way to market, sell, and serve your customers. The conversations shifts from selling features to sharing stories and knowledge. Marketers who implement INBOUND strategies create content designed to address the problems and needs of their ideal customers, attract qualified prospects and foster credibility for their respective businesses.
Before making a purchase, every customer wants to have enough knowledge about the product they are buying. INBOUND gives them the information they need to make a better decision and offers a solution precisely when the customer is ready to purchase.
INBOUND MARKETING is the act of applying this mindset to the day to day marketing activities of the company. Usually, it requires a complete overhaul of how marketing campaigns are formulated, implemented, and evaluated. An INBOUND MARKETING strategy can include a number of different channels and types of content to attract prospects and customers to your website.
While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t want, INBOUND MARKETING forms connections they’re looking for and solves problems they already have. Activities include building customer personas, creating ebooks, personalizing emails, installing chatbots, and many more.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
What makes INBOUND MARKETING extremely powerful is the ability to deliver solutions and opportunities that have a positive impact on people and your business. Here are some really amazing benefits of INBOUND MARKETING:
1. YOU IMPROVE BRAND AWARENESS
Digital platforms have made it possible even for small brands to gain brand awareness. That’s because customers are always doing research and looking for information online. By practicing INBOUND MARKETING, you create content that customers will find useful thus making a great first impression.
Moreover, if your content is valuable, they will most likely share it to their family, friends, or colleagues. This will give you more mileage on your content than you initially planned for.
2. YOU GENERATE QUALITY TRAFFIC
Creating helpful and specific content will resonate with only a targeted group of people. That’s ideal! Pushing out INBOUND content on your website attracts visitors who are experiencing problems you are writing or talking about. This allows you to filter out everyone else who may not need your product or who may not be ready to purchase just yet. Quality over quantity should be the priority of your marketing efforts.
3. YOU SIMPLIFY YOUR SALES PROCESS
Not everyone who can afford you should be a customer. By properly educating your audience, you connect with prospects who have the problem you are trying to solve and are ready to be guided towards a solution. You end up saving time by only talking to prospects who are a good fit for your business.
The content on your website will allow customers to know more about you, your approach, and how your product or service can help them. When they finally reach out to you, you can be more confident since you know that the customer is more educated on the ways you can solve their problem.
4. YOU SCALE YOUR EXPERTISE AND EMPATHY
Building quality relationships is difficult to do without the right framework. Customers don’t want to be sold to anymore. They want to be informed, educated, and entertained. With INBOUND MARKETING, you are able to scale this process and demonstrate your expertise and empathy.
A blog article, video, or even an infographic can serve as a timely and helpful guide to your customers. Sharing this allows you to become more value-adding to them. The result? They continue coming back to you for more answers and eventually trust you to offer them the best solution.
5. YOU DELIGHT CUSTOMERS AND BUILD BRAND LOVE
Ensuring customers are happy, satisfied, and supported long after they make a purchase is also part of INBOUND MARKETING. These strategies involve your team members becoming advisors and experts who assist customers at any point in time. You shift your relationship with your customers from transactional to personal. Delighted customers promote your services online and refer you to other people. You end up attracting more potential customers thus creating a positive feedback loop for your business!
WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW?
If you want start doing INBOUND MARKETING, there are a couple of things you need to know.
It all starts with understanding your “Customer Journey” — the process a typical buyer will go through before making an actual purchase.
The stages of the customer journey are:
1) Awareness – your prospect is made aware of a problem and begins looking for a solution.
2) Consideration – your prospect is begins researching online, asking around, and sifting through options before coming up with a final list.
3) Conversion – your prospect chooses one of the options and makes a final purchase decision.
To attract, engage and delight your customers, you should walk them through all the stages of the buyer’s journey through your inbound efforts.
In order to contextualize this journey better, it is recommended to create a CUSTOMER PERSONA. This is a list of characteristics and behavior that a typical customer will have. While there is no one way to build a persona, it is ideal to answer the following questions:
1) What is the age, gender, location, and profession of my customer?
2) What are the current problems they are trying to solve?
3) What are some of their challenges? What is stopping them from solving these problems?
4) Where do they do their research? What blogs do they follow? What topics do they read up on?
5) How would their life look like if they managed to solve these problems?
DIGITAL MARKETING ACTIVITIES
Now that you know who your customer is and what steps they take to solve their problem, you move to concrete activities that will convert them from prospects to customers.
Search Engine Optimization – This is the act of improving your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines by building your authority on certain topics. This can include optimizing your website for mobile devices, doing keyword research, writing on topics that your customers are looking for, and fixing headlines, descriptions and meta tags.
Content Creation – This is the process of sharing information and distributing them on different digital mediums. These can include blog articles, ebooks, inforgraphics, GIFs, newsletters, and videos. Some other popular formats include tweets, podcasts, and even witty hashtags!
Pay-Per-Click Advertising – This is purchasing advertisement spots on social, search, display, video, and mobile platforms. Activities include writing copy for ads, improving targeting measures, optimizing ad placements, and monitoring performance.
Email marketing – This is the distribution of emails to a typically warm audience. Newsletters, promotional emails, company updates or anything you send to your customers via email is part of your email marketing. You should have a database of customers uploaded on email marketing software in order to send the right email to the right prospect.
All these activities of help and amplify your inbound marketing efforts. You might want to start a blog, encourage your reader to subscribe and get emails from you. Or you might want to target the right keywords through pay-per-click advertising and guide the prospect to your website. You have vast options, depending on your budget and the time you want to spend on your product marketing.
HOW DO I START?
1. CREATE CUSTOMER JOURNEYS AND PERSONAS
Define first your WHO and HOW. Who is going to buy your product? How do they discover solutions? Writing down their demographics, the devices they are using, their goals, frustrations and all the other relevant information you can get about your prospects will help you better market your business.
2. DO COMPETITOR RESEARCH
Look for your biggest competitors and understand what their advantages are. How is your product better than theirs? Why should people buy from you and not from them? What are they doing differently? This is crucial in order to position yourself in the best way and stand out from the crowd. Your competitors’ weaknesses can be a good entry point for you.
3. DEFINE YOUR POSITIONING AND UNFAIR ADVANTAGE
Every product and service has a unique selling proposition. Define yours and plot out the ways you can deliver this better than your competitors. This will allow you to create clearer and more helpful content for your customers. You will be able to communicate what makes your solution the most ideal option and attract only the most qualified prospects.
4. WRITE AND CREATE CONTENT THAT IS EDUCATIONAL AND VALUE-ADDING
Follow the rules of inbound marketing and educate your prospects on the problems they are having. Hold nothing back! Remember that the best customers are the most informed ones. Aim to be as informative and value-adding as you possibly can. It’s also good practice to diversify so create a healthy mix of written, visual, and audio content. Different mediums will resonate with different people so ensure you’re able to reach them all by making various kinds of content.
5. DISTRIBUTE USING PAID MEDIA
The content you produce shouldn’t rely solely on being found through organic channels. You need to distribute also on paid media channels. There are two advantages. First, it gives your content a much needed boost in order to reach more people online. Second, it also allows you to hypertarget customers using specific measures like location, behavior, and platforms.
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Want To Learn More?
Huskee Digital is a HubSpot Certified Agency Partner. We are experts at formulating, implementing, and evaluating inbound marketing strategies. We’re committed to creating more human and helpful brands. Speak to one of our strategists and learn how you can embrace INBOUND today.