What is Inbound Marketing
INBOUND MARKETING IS THE PROCESS OF ALIGNING YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING WITH YOUR BUYERS’ NEW DECISION-MAKING PROCESS. THE GOAL IS TO EXPOSE YOUR COMPANY EXPERTISE TO THEM, WHEN AND WHERE THEY ARE LOOKING FOR IT.
Inbound marketing is the primary marketing approach for the majority of businesses worldwide.
THE INBOUND METHODOLOGY
While your buyer is travelling their buying process, they need information to help them move from one stage to the next, toward finding and implementing a solution. The type and content of information they need changes as they change stages in the process, as does their willingness to engage with potential suppliers.
The inbound methodology, maps your digital marketing with the stages of the buying process in a way that enables you to:
- Attract visitors to you online, while they are researching their problems
- Convert visitors into known leads as they dig deeper into their problems and seek richer information about solutions
- Close customers by supporting their decision-making process and capitalizing on earned trust.
- Delight closed customers by treating them with care, turning them into promoters of your brand
A global business phenomenon
FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW, THE TRADITIONAL TOOL KIT OF B2B TECHNOLOGY MARKETERS HAS BEEN LOSING ITS EDGE.
Subjected to masses of advertising and other brand messages daily, your buyers have evolved. They’ve become extremely effective at ignoring what they haven’t asked to receive. Their eyes do not see banner adverts and they can spot the direct mail lurking amongst their post. Unsolicited email is habitual, if not automatically, filtered out or deleted. And cold sales calls are the least welcome thing of all. Unsurprisingly, the ROI from all these activities, when used as lead generators, is in rapid decline. This means you need a new tool kit.
This may all sound like a big challenge, but actually, it’s an opportunity like no other. This is your opportunity to be an early adopter of not just a new marketing tactic, but of an entirely new marketing philosophy - inbound.
Inbound marketing replaces interruptive, outbound forms of communication with content-driven strategies that help you to attract, convert, close, and delight modern B2B buyers.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
We all have heard the terms “inbound” and “outbound” marketing, but we really know the difference between the two? To develop an effective marketing strategy for your business, you should have a solid understanding of both. It boils down to what is best for your business.
Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD OF CONTENT MARKETING AND MIGHT BE WONDERING HOW IT DIFFERS FROM INBOUND.
Both terms are relatively young and definitions of each vary. The way we think about it is that content marketing is a tactic, while inbound marketing is the strategy. Inbound is the answer to the question 'how do I use content to attract, convert, close and delight more customers?’
Content marketing is the act of creating quality content that is aligned with your buyers’ needs as they travel the buying process. Inbound marketing integrates content with lead generation, marketing automation, and other digital marketing tactics.
The B2B Buying Process
All B2B buying decisions go through the same set of stages. Your buyer travels from a position of having an as yet undefined problem, through researching it and solutions to it, to identifying and eventually choosing between suppliers of those solutions. While buyers may travel the stages at dramatically different speeds depending on what they are buying, and may even move back and forth between stages, overall the model holds up Inbound recognises that B2B buyers have taken back control of their buying process, and of the flow of information between you and them. It recognises that, to earn their trust and the right to engage them in a conversation about what you offer, you’re going to have to play by their rules. Playing by their rules means letting them do their own research, not interrupting them. And it means helping them to make good decisions, not selling to them.
When you understand your buyers’ preferred way of making decisions, and you see how these relate to the inbound methodology, it isn’t hard to understand which digital marketing tactics play a role at each stage.
The core principles are:
Attracting new visitors to your website requires you to answer their questions and be found where they are looking. Blogging is the single best method for driving new prospects to your site. Back this up with search engine optimisation and social media publishing and you can maximise your blog’s traffic generation potential.
Capture your anonymous visitors’ contact details, and gain permission to contact them directly, by offering them something in return. Content pieces like white papers and eBooks, that align to their stage in the buying process, are best for this. You’ll also need call to action buttons, landing pages and forms to make this happen.
Now that you are engaged in a conversation with your prospect, you need to nurture their interest in you and your solution. Content that is carefully selected to reflect their progress though the buying process, delivered by personalised email, is effective. So too is pre-filling web forms with known information when prospects return to your site.
Inbound doesn’t stop once your prospect becomes a customer. Making sure your customers always have access to the latest and most relevant content ensures they stay engaged and creates opportunities to upsell.
PUTTING INBOUND MARKETING TO WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS, AND GENERATING MAXIMUM RESULTS, REQUIRES THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THREE CORE PRINCIPLES; CONTENT MARKETING, LEAD GENERATION AND MARKETING AUTOMATION.
As you have seen, quality content plays a role at every step of the inbound methodology, driving up your traffic, fuelling lead generation and supporting lead nurturing as well as post-sales marketing. A creative and collaborative team effort is required to keep up the steady flow of blog posts and content offers that inbound requires.
With more visitors coming to your website and rich content to hand, lead generation is your next concern. Leads don’t convert themselves, so you need to create conversion opportunities, lots of them, to help them along. Ideally, every page and post on your website will feature a call to action (leading to a landing page) or a conversion opportunity. Calls to action, landing pages, forms and the content offers themselves all need to aligned if you are to earn you prospect’s trust and obtain their valuable contact data.
THE ROLE OF MARKETING AUTOMATION
Marketing automation is the software that enables you to tie your content marketing and lead generation together with email marketing, social media, analytics, and sales. With marketing automation, you can create data-driven, personalized, and automated email nurturing campaigns to a complete inbound strategy that attracts, converts, closes, and delights customers.
Business Benefits Of Going Inbound
Inbound marketing is all about generating leads. But when you market in a way that naturally aligns with what your buyers want, something great happens.
Going inbound grants your business additional, bonus benefits that in turn enhance your lead generation capability even further:
- Improved ranking for competitive search keywords
- Growing reputation for thought leadership
- Higher customer conversion rates
- Larger, more engaged social audiences
- Greater ROI from events
- More collateral and resources for use by sales
- More value from CRM investments
HubSpot Agency MapleSage
MapleSage is a full-service B2B focused HubSpot Agency Partner. We help organizations generate leads, nurture relationships, improve buyer engagement, build awareness, and improve opportunity creation.
Whether you are starting from scratch or looking to improve upon your current inbound efforts, MapleSage can help. Our comprehensive inbound service includes everything you need for inbound success. A new kind of agency – that integrates marketing, technology, analytics, and design to achieve business goals.
Your Growth Partner - From Presence To Profit.
Other Helpful Inbound Marketing Resources:
32 Enviable Inbound Marketing Examples
Inbound is all about publishing helpful and interesting content your audience wants to consume.
To help get the inspiration flowing, we’ve collected 32 examples of truly enviable inbound marketing. Whether you want to rethink your blog design, video marketing, or anything in between, these top-notch examples are sure to expand your thinking.
You might be surprised how an international supermarket could inspire your insurance firm’s marketing, or how a backpack retailer could make you rethink content for your SaaS startup.
Explore impressive inbound examples of:
- Social Media
- Blog Design
- Video Storytelling
- Interactive Microsites
- Email Marketing
- Compelling Content