What is Inbound Marketing? Why is it important?

Inbound vs Outbound

Rather than the old outbound marketing approach of cold calling, buying email lists and hoping for leads, inbound marketing is all about It’s about earning the attention of visitors – drawing in new customers by focussing on quality content that aligns with their interests.

Inbound marketing:

  • Earning attention organically
  • Shareable content increases reach
  • Success = outsmarting competitors
  • Focus is Customer Need
  • SEO & PPC
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Free Trials
  • e-Books
  • Public Speaking

Outbound marketing:

  • Interrupting someone to get attention
  • Higher reach = higher cost
  • Success = outspending competitors
  • Focus is Business Offering
  • Telemarketing
  • Trade Shows
  • Direct Mail
  • Purchased E-mail Lists
  • Print Advertising
  • TV & Radio Advertising

Inbound Marketing Is About

1. Attracting The Right Traffic

Website traffic is all well and good but if it’s not the right kind of traffic there’s no point. We focus on attracting visitors who are most likely to become leads, customers and promoters of our business. These visitors are our buyer personas.

Blogging is one of the most important parts of inbound marketing. Your site should include educational, engaging blog posts that answer the key questions your customers have.

Most customer journeys begin at a search engine. You need to ensure that your content is appearing prominently in search results for the right keywords. This is achieved through careful choice of keywords, on-page optimisation and quality link building.

Web Pages
Your web pages are where your potential customers go to find out more information about your business. Optimise your web site to appeal to your buyer personas.

Social media is a great way to promote your content and to engage with your potential customers. Be intelligent about which social media channels to use and focus on those where your potential customers are spending their time.

2. Converting The Right Leads

Once a visitor is on your site, you need to convert them into a lead by collecting their contact information – at the very least this should include an e-mail address.

Unless your visitor is ready to buy straight away, which is unlikely, you will need to offer them a strong reason to give up their information. Consider offering free downloads of checklists, how-to guides, white papers and e-books. Think about what would be most interesting to your buyer personas.

Calls to action
Calls to action are highly visible buttons combined with a strong heading encouraging your visitors to take an action like “download a how-to guide” or “request a consultation”. Calls to action should be tailored to the particular buyer persona that your blog post or web page is targeting.

Of course, if you want to collect contact information you are going to need to put this content behind a form that requests the information. Don’t ask for too much and think carefully about what information you ask for. Is an e-mail address and a job title more useful than a phone number?

3. Leads Becoming Customers

You will now have a database of leads that are at various stages of the sales funnel. The call to action that they have responded to will give you a strong indication of this. Some are nearly ready to buy (they click the “request a consultation” CTA). Others are just starting out on their journey.

How do you convert these leads into customers?

You should keep details about all of your leads and potential deals in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This database will allow you to ensure you maintain up to date information about all of your prospects and to report on which keywords, blog posts and marketing channels are delivering the best ROI.

Marketing Automation
If a prospect responds to a call to action, this should trigger a series of automated emails focussed on relevant content that can help you to build trust and move the prospect closer to making a purchase.

Depending how the prospect interacts with each of these emails, the next email in the chain can be tailored automatically to fit the prospects areas of interest or position in the sales funnel.

4. Customers Becoming Promoters

It goes without saying, your service needs to be second to none. Happy customers will promote your business to others. It costs less to re-engage and up-sell to existing customers. Keep sharing insightful, engaging content with them even after the initial sale.

Consider using a survey to find out what your customers really thought of your product or service. Net Promoter Score is a great way to gauge whether your customer is going to refer you to their network.

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