What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing covers every stage of the buying process. It focuses on creating quality content that pulls people into your business and brand. It enables you to attract, convert, close, and delight customers by being in the right place at the right time in the buyer’s journey — the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. When used correctly, inbound marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business.
How does inbound marketing work?
Inbound marketing positions your company to be found by current and prospective customers through the development of an online presence that speaks to them and addresses their specific needs.
They are already researching your industry, checking out your competitors, searching for answers online, and trying to decide if they will purchase from you. Your goal is to produce content that speaks to all of these scenarios and stages of the buying process in order to capture these interested prospects where they naturally are online.
By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you can attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.
The 4 components of inbound marketing strategy
Inbound marketing comprises four vital stages: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
1. Attract — Turn Strangers Into Visitors
As it the case with most budding relationships, the first step is attraction. As a business, you want to attract people who can potentially be your customers.
You should have already developed buying personas — semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on market research and real data about your existing customers. These constitute your target market.
PRO TIP:Consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals in your buyer persona(s). The more detailed you are, the better.
Tactics for attracting visitors:
– Create value with blogging
Businesses that blog receive 77% more traffic and 97% more links to their websites than those that do not. That’s because blogging creates value and credibility that attracts your ideal audience.
– Use social media to drive traffic
There are 2.03 billion people with active social media accounts who are online 2-3 hours per day. Social media platforms are incredibly good at driving traffic that lures new customers. Learn more about using social media in this post.
– Use SEO to get found online
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. When you properly optimize your content and site for search engines, you’ll increase your rankings and get more traffic.
– Leverage other brand audiences
On average, businesses see a 6-to-1 return when they can find and engage people who already have the audience they want, then leverage that audience to build their own.
– Create retargeting & PPC ads
Visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website. Also, retargeting ads can lead to >1000% increase in searches for your brand.
2. Convert — Turn Visitors Into Leads
After you have attracted your buyer personas to your brand, the next step in inbound marketing is converting them into qualified leads. This requires lead nurturing. For this, you will need to collect your site visitors’ contact information. Contact information is currency for inbound marketers because it is key to growing sales funnels and email lists. The challenge is actually obtaining it.
To entice your audience to give you this valuable information and opt in to your communications, you need to give them something in return. This is when you should deliver them premium content that is going to aid in their decision-making journey. This helps give them the information they are looking for, while providing you with their contact information so you can effectively market to them in the future.
Tactics for turning site visitors into leads:
– Direct traffic with calls-to-action (CTAs)
70% of businesses don’t have any notable calls-to-action on their homepage. This makes it next to impossible to convert traffic into leads. Use CTAs to point visitors where you want them to go.
– Create value with content offers
Premium content offers like email courses and eBooks generate 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing and cost 62% less.
– Convert visitors to leads with landing pages
The main entry point of most websites is not the homepage — in fact, 56% of all clicks are directed to a landing page. Use your landing pages to deliver premium content to turn visitors into actionable leads.
– Use opt-in forms to boost conversions
Opt-in forms are one of the fastest ways to get more leads. Studies show that businesses can increase conversion rates by 1000% or more by adding various opt-in forms to their websites.
– Use social proof to create credibility
Using customer reviews as social proof can increase marketing effectiveness exponentially because 88% of people trust reviews by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
3. Close — Turn Leads Into Customers
If you’ve used the inbound marketing tactics above, you should have a number of qualified leads at this point. They key is turning them into paying customers. You need to shower them with just the right amount of attention at the right times — too much and they’ll think you’re a spammer and unsubscribe, too little and they’ll forget about you.
At this point in the process, tools such as email marketing, marketing automation, lead nurturing, and social media monitoring should be used to ensure that you are educating your prospective customers to the point that they are ready to purchase from you.
Tactics for closing sales:
– Use a CRM (customer relationship management) tool to track leads
A CRM tool can increase revenue 41% when used to track and nurture leads.
– Send emails to close more sales
Email marketing is consistently voted the most effective marketing channel. Every $1 spent on email marketing has an average return of $44.25.
– Set up marketing automation
Business that successfully automate their lead nurturing process with targeted messages see an 10% or greater increase in revenue in just 6 to 9 months.
– Create sales-focused content
61% of people say they are more likely to buy from a company that delivers content. By creating product videos, spec sheets, FAQs, etc., you’ll make it easier for customers to make a purchase decision.
– Use analytics to find top channels
More than 50% of businesses find it difficult to correlate marketing activity to revenue. Analytics tools enable you to calculate and improve ROI.
4. Delight – Turn Customers into Promoters
The goal of delighting customers is twofold: solving their issues and turning them into promoters of your business by providing remarkable content. Delight is a vital step in the inbound process, but is often the most overlooked.
The worst thing you can do is forget about the people who have already purchased from you. If they are happy, they will sing your praises to their friends — and referrals are substantial drivers of growth for your business.
– Create communities on social media
53% of people who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. When you build a social community around your brand, you’ll create lifelong customers and fans.
– Reward loyal customers
It costs 5 times more to acquire new customers vs. keeping existing ones. This is why it’s crucial to reward your loyal customers to keep them coming back for more by offering premium content.
– Use personalization to drive engagement
Businesses see an average sales increase of 20% when they implement personalized experiences and suggestions to give customers the content and products they want.
– Use survey and feedback tools
It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for only 1 negative customer experience. Collecting feedback will help eliminate the possibility of a bad customer experience.
– Collect reviews and testimonials
Studies show that 70% of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase. Asking customers for reviews at the right time will create brand advocates that attract new leads.
– Have awesome customer support
65% of people say they’ve cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience. Creating a stellar customer support system from day one is vital.