Inbound marketing is one of the buzz words you’ll hear many digital marketing companies throw around all the time. The problem is, even the best inbound marketing specialist out there struggles when it comes actually building up an inbound marketing strategy that works.
So, before you engage an inbound marketing company in discussions or hire an inbound marketing specialist, it’s extremely important to understand how their inbound marketing services will benefit your overall marketing ROIs.
In this post, we’ll try to tackle what inbound marketing really is, learn from a couple of great inbound marketing examples and discuss briefly how we – at HQ SEO – customise our inbound marketing services for each campaign.
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Inbound marketing is the process of attracting leads, prospects and customers to your website through content assets that are designed to address their pain points. The whole point is to offer useful information that will push the visitors into converting on their own, rather than you initiating the process.
In essence, an inbound marketing campaign – based on a meticulously planned inbound marketing strategy – aims to bring people over to your website (typically, landing pages) and let them know that you’re there to address their pain points.
A well-planned inbound marketing strategy doesn’t try to ‘sell’ stuff right away – it’s all about focusing on turning the stranger into a long-time customer (to increase the lifetime customer value).
The following diagram shows the inbound marketing methodology in practice to help us better understand the inbound marketing definition:
Comparing inbound marketing vs outbound marketing as two sides of the same coin is usually enough to understand the key differences. Both marketing methods share the same ultimate goal – to generate leads and register sales. Outbound marketing is more about actively reaching out to a braod set of potential customers, while inbound marketing is all about taking care of potential customers who come to your website.
The inbound marketing vs outbound marketing debate is better understood when we put into perspective inbound vs outbound sales.
Inbound marketing methodology helps businesses adapt to rapidly-changing needs. By following each step closely, you will turn strangers into brand promoters.
At HQ SEO, we have devised digital marketing services that completed your overall inbound marketing strategy – from result-driven SEO to drive huge streams of organic visitors to your website to meticulous conversion rate optimization that makes sure you keep hitting your sales targets. To know more or to request a proposal, get in touch with us.
This is where your inbound marketing strategy begins and your inbound marketing campaign starts taking shape.
It focuses on driving qualified traffic to your site. It’s the step most businesses struggle with the most, leaving their inbound marketing funnel utterly useless.
Content creation is the most effective strategy as it earns the viewer’s attention. Other benefits of content creation are increased traffic volume and lead conversion rate optimisation.
Content can come in a variety of forms; including blog posts, articles, videos, case studies and infographics. The stronger the quality of your content, the more authority you will gain, resulting in increased organic traffic.
Shareable, linkable and valuable content is an integral part of ALL inbound marketing tactics. If you can attract a visitor and let them feel that you’ve provided value without trying to sell them something, you’ve already earned a positive place in their head.
A good inbound marketing plan attracts and “pulls” instead of pushes people do business with them.
SEO is a huge part for any inbound marketing strategy. The very fact that you can have thousands of intent-driven visitors flock to your website to solve their pain points on their own is an incredibly useful thing to have.
In my experience, having your SEO in order – from the technical aspects to on and off page aspects – adds enough weight behind your inbound marketing strategy for it to keep attracting visitors organically.
In terms of digital marketing ROIs, SEO offers ongoing returns and all the investment pay for themselves, many times over.
Social media has become a huge, decisive factor in the success of inbound marketing plans.
It allows business to interact with customers but also attract new followers to the brand. Build up a strong follower count and content will reach a wide audience which, again, creates authority.
Use social media channels to monitor what is being said about the brand and the industry as a whole. Valuable information can be found from customer opinions shared through social media.
The next stage in the inbound methodology is to convert this website visitor into a lead. To do this you need to acquire their contact information.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to create a landing page which teases premium content that can only be accessed by providing their contact information. Remember to include clear call to action (CTA) buttons throughout the website that redirects visitors to this landing page. As well as keeping your CTAs consistent and simple throughout. Do not confuse your prospect with multiple offerings.
If you are in a service business then always include a well built (ideally responsive) form on this landing page. Whether you offer access to premium content, such as a webinar, ebook or strategy. Or simply you are requesting they get in touch for a demo or “strategy session”.
Requesting the visitor to get in touch with you and offering free, instant quotes works incredibly well for inbound marketing B2B campaigns. We use these calls as important parts of our conversion rate optmization campaigns, allowing us to yield some of the best ROIs as a leading inbound marketing agency.
After contact details have been received, communicate with the visitor promptly.
Follow up with an email that includes the promised content and arrange for a separate call or meeting to discuss relevant questions they may have about the business. Direct them to further relevant, informative content to help with any queries. Lead management credit for below extremely interesting fact about contacting leads as soon as they come in!
Find the balance between regular level content and premium level content. Don’t give away too much prime material without collecting the necessary contact information first.
Finally, track converting leads in a CRM. Make notes of all interactions and conversations with leads for future reference. This will optimise attracting, converting, closing and delight ideal customers (you can read more about this in our lead flow post.)
Email marketing (an outbound marketing strategy) works remarkably well as a follow-up for the leads generated by your inbound marketing plan.
By staying in touch with your leads, you make sure that your campaign stays ‘alive’ (out of sight, out of mind!).
At HQ SEO, we help our clients benefit from powerful, robust, scalable email marketing services that guarantee some of the best delivery rates, open rates and response rates. All our campaigns are fully customisable, allowing you to deliver a host of content – from simple announcements and offers to personalised, curated content and newsletters.
To know more, do feel free to write to us.
This is where leads turn into paying clients and customers. The marketing and sales teams must work together to complete the sale.
A lead flow process will help describe how well leads are flowing through the sales funnel (the last stage of the overall inbound marketing funnel). Without a sound lead flow process, valuable leads slip through the net.
Implement a lead scoring system to identify where each lead is in the sales process and provide them with relevant content. Nurture leads individually based on their requirements and their interests.
For leads that are close to the top of the sales funnel, provide them with brand focused content. For leads that are towards the bottom of the sale funnel, interact with them via personal or online consultations.
Implement marketing automation when closing sales. Marketing teams can draw leads through the funnel quickly and deliver high quality leads into sales. Automating targeted, personalised emails (as we discused earlier) is one example to implement.
Finally, keep an eye on customer analytics. They help you see that content is attracting the right leads and simplify lead nurturing and marketing automation.
Closing is no longer just about sales. A modern inbound marketing methodology understands closing the sale also relies on marketing.
Even after customers sign the dotted line, frequent and effective communication is needed. Existing customers have high expectations. Provide quality service to keep them delighted.
Inbound marketing requires delivering quality content on a frequent basis. This applies to both new visitors and existing customers.
Be smart with content. Loyal customers do not require CTAs to access premium content.
Excellent customer service makes it easier to upsell in the future. Invite customers to be part of a newsletter to stay up to date with latest news and content. Dynamic content should also be considered.
Find time to communicate with customers. Word of mouth is an effective inbound lead strategy that cannot be created without great customer service. Satisfied customers will share content on their respective social media pages further increasing exposure and adding more weight behind your existing and future inbound marketing campaigns.
Continue to monitor customer satisfaction with surveys. Use feedback to encourage positive processes and make improvements where highlighted. In time your most profitable clients and happiest customers will become some of the best (and cheapest) salespeople for driving your business forward.
Talking to an inbound marketing company is almost always about getting expensive quotes you don’t know what to do with (of course, HQ SEO will never do that you – we love all our present and future clients enough to offer absolutely free quotes).
If you can’t afford the inbound marketing services of an agency right away, you can always get the feel for its effectiveness by getting started on your own in small steps. There are quite a few inbound marketing tools (including specialty inbound marketing software and across the board marketing tools) that help you achieve this.
Here’s a beginner’s list of inbound marketing tools that you can refer to. Remember – no individual software or no combination of inbound marketing tools can get you quite the same results as a thoughtful, creative inbound marketing strategy can.
Inbound marketing strategies are effective in generating higher converting leads for your business. These leads are easier to close, more profitable in the long term and will become salespeople of their own too.