Inbound marketing is based on the strategy of introducing customers into your business...
... via content marketing, social media marketing, branding and SEO. The principle behind inbound is to provide the information your prospects and customers are looking for online. It’s about delivering the right messages, at the right time, to inform your prospects and move them through the buying process.
The four stages of inbound marketing, as defined by the creators of the methodology Hubspot, are:
Attract visitors > Convert Leads > Close Customers > Delight Fans
Each of the inbound stages...
Strategies for the Attract phase:
- Get found online using SEO - 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. SEO is about optimising your site and content to encourage search engines to increase your rankings and so, traffic.
- Create PPC retargeting advertising - Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert. By understanding the pages your prospects visit (and engage with), you gain greater knowledge of their interests in order to create ads that will bring them back to your business.
- Create value through blogs - The best method for generating traffic and creating more links to your site is to write a blog. Blog articles create value, credibility and are designed to attract your ideal target market. Businesses who blog generate 97% more links and 77% more traffic than their non-blogging competitors.
- Drive traffic through social media - With over 2 billion people in the world using social media, at an average 2-3 hours a day, it’s a great way to amplify your content, drive traffic and attract new customers to your website. With a variety of platforms available, and different methods of engaging with consumers on social media, it continues to grow as a source of acquisition for businesses.
- Leverage other people’s audiences - A simple concept that is too often underutilised, yet generates great results, is taking advantage of the other people’s audience who align with your target interests. Find and engage people and businesses who already have the audience you are after, then leverage the relationship and audience to build your own. This is not about using third party apps to inauthentically steal an audience, or manipulate an audience that has been hard earned by someone else. Rather, it’s about presenting yourself in the minds of people who will be genuinely interested in what you have to offer, and allowing them to decide.
Strategies for the Convert phase
- Landing pages - Create specific landing pages leading from your attraction activities. Create premium content addressing what your prospect is looking for on these pages and test what content engages and converts.
- Social Proof - 88% of people trust reviews by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Using customer reviews as social proof can increase marketing effectiveness.
- Call to actions - A common failing with a lot of online marketing campaigns is the omitting of call to actions (CTAs). In particular, the landing pages and content pieces. Bounce and exit rates from websites are significantly increased when CTAs are not used. They do not always have to sell; you can lead customers to another piece of content or a downloadable to keep them engaged with your business.
- Create value with content - While blogs are highly effective, it’s worth considering premium content offers such as white papers, ebooks and online courses. Evidence points to a three fold increase in leads and online conversions with the effective use of these key content pieces.
- Get your opt in forms working for you - Forms are a great way to get landing page and website conversions. Effective opt-in forms should be easy for your customers to use. Remember that the more fields you request as mandatory information, the lower the chance (10% on average) the form will be completed.
Strategies for the Close phase
- Marketing automation - One of the fundamentals of inbound marketing is the lead nurturing component. Businesses who bring prospects into their website, and successfully engage with them, build automated lead nurturing processes with targeted messages. Platforms such as email marketing and social media retargeting are simple ways lead nurturing can be automated.
- Track leads via a CRM tool - Using a CRM tool can not only improve your sales people’s performance, but also your marketing. A CRM can give you insights as to which marketing activity, source and medium created the lead that ultimately led to a conversion. Marketing and sales teams working together with a CRM tool can increase your revenue by 41%.
- Send promotional emails to people closer to buying - Email marketing is still the most effective digital medium to converting someone in the consideration phase. Emails have a longer lifespan than other digital marketing platforms and (if used correctly with the right promotion message) can bring about a strong ROI.
- Create content that is more sales focused - Consumers at the buying stage of the funnel are more likely to buy through your business than through a competitor if the content on your site helps them make a purchasing decision.
Consider your website as a 24/7 sales person able to address features, benefits and handle objections and concerns of potential buyers.
Strategies for the Delight phase
- Reward loyal customers - It costs seven times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Consider rewarding your long term customers with offers and gifts to keep them coming back.
- Use survey and feedback tools - Take your time understanding customer feedback and use the information to assist marketing to both new and existing customers.
- Review and testimonials - Reviews and testimonials are the biggest driver of purchasing decisions in the online world. Studies show that 70-90% of those making online purchasing decisions will or have read a review before the purchase. Create brand advocates by asking for reviews and testimonials at the right time. Use these to promote your business via your website and social media.
- Personalise experiences for your clients - Provide the content and experience your customer wants. On average, businesses can expect to see an increase of 20% in sales when they create personalised experiences for the clients. This means personalised EDMs, chatbot conversation, and really listening to their questions so you can answer with considered responses.
- Create communities in social media - Build a social community around your brand with the goal of creating lifelong customers and fans; 53% of people who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.
Inbound marketing works on the concept of quality content. For more information on quality content, please check out our other article Why Quality Content Matters To Your Website