Marketing tactics are constantly evolving with more efficient and effective ways to reach buyers and influence their buying decisions. Today, consumers have virtually unlimited information literally at their fingertips.
Consumers browse the Internet to find technical specifications, product information and compare prices from competing brands right on their smartphones. This product research – as much as 57% of a consumer’s decision-making process – happens before the buyer ever engages with the brand for a purchase, leaving less opportunity for a product distributor or company sales rep to be involved in their buying process.
Inbound Marketing has created a new marketing paradigm in which brands must play an entirely different role than they have in the past. Whereas in the past it was enough just to create and distribute a brochure or an advertisement, today’s brands must establish a genuine dialogue with potential customers and encourage them to make a connection to their brand's story and purpose.
The most impactful sources for generating leads are all content-focused: social media posts, blogs, SEO, and email marketing. These content-focused channels are the basis for Inbound Marketing. Here's how inbound marketing can increase traffic, leads and customers for your company.
What is Inbound Marketing?
You've probably heard the term but perhaps you aren't exactly sure about the specifics of inbound marketing. Maybe you're skeptical about the many claims that inbound marketing is the wave of the future and the only way to succeed in the digital era. Or maybe you want to learn how to do inbound marketing but don't know where to start.
Inbound Marketing is a marketing strategy that involves the creation of content and the promotion of that content across the channels where your buyers hang out. When done right, the content will attract the right people to your company. Those people will engage with your content and become educated about your company, which in turn could lead to more traffic, leads, and customers.
When we say "content," we're referring to articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media. This type of content provides your audience with an experience that they value and want to share with others.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
While more traditional "outbound" marketing involves contacting potential customers that haven't demonstrated true interest, inbound marketing is focused on the customer experience and attracting them with relevant content that encourages engaging with your brand. Outbound marketing involves contacting potential customers without any prior engagement. Outbound marketing typically takes the form of phone calls and direct mailings. There is value in both inbound and outbound marketing strategies and your marketing and sales strategy should be a good mix of each.
However, technology, specifically the Internet, is making traditional, outbound marketing methods less effective and more expensive for lead generation. Increasing trade show expenses put them out of reach for many would-be attendees. Telephone sales calls are often seen as an interruption and go mostly to voicemail. Direct mail is frequently ignored and goes directly into the trash. Digital video recorders enable TV viewers to skip over ads. Moreover, traditional outbound marketing methods are poorly targeted with impersonal messages.
While outbound marketing focuses on finding customers, inbound marketing is focused on getting found by potential customers who are actively searching the Internet for information about the products or services they want. Instead of broadcasting their message into a crowd and hoping to hit somebody who might be interested, inbound marketers attract qualified prospects with their quality content.
How does Inbound Marketing work?
It sounds great. After all, what business doesn’t want more qualified leads to bolster their sales efforts? But how do you get started with inbound marketing?
There are three basic components that form the foundation of a successful inbound marketing program:
- Attract website visitors by producing a steady stream of quality content. Your blogs, videos, infographics and other content shows up in search engines for them to find.
- Engage prospects with the information they want and helpful resources that can help them with their buying decision. Consider providing pricing information or competitor product comparisons right on your website.
- Convert leads by offering special, high-value content that they might find useful. Collect the name and email of a visitor who downloads your eBook or whitepaper. Then your sales reps can reach out with personalized follow-up messages, emails and social media posts to start a relationship and encourage qualified leads to form an attachment to your brand.
Inbound marketing is all about digital content marketing, lead generation and sales enablement. Adapting your marketing strategies to changing customer behavior, new consumer expectations, and new channels for reaching them requires marketing automation software to trigger your marketing actions, and measure the results of your efforts, combined with customer relationship management (CRM) to maintain your contact database and keep track of your sales process.
How can your brand get started with inbound marketing in this hyper-competitive environment? As a certified HubSpot Solutions Partner agency, Heinzeroth Marketing Group is trained on principals of inbound marketing to help our clients turn prospects into customers. Contact us to learn more about how inbound marketing can help your company increase traffic, leads and customers for your company.