Are you overwhelmed by all the moving parts of inbound marketing? Don't be - sit back and let these short videos walk you through the methodology.
Inbound marketing is a philosophy rooted in the idea that people value personalized, relevant content – not interruptive messages.
The inbound marketing methodology is about helping brands attract, convert, close and delight visitors, leads and customers through a variety of channels like social media, blogging, SEO and email. In essence, inbound marketing pulls customers to your company instead of shouting at them with interruptive messages.
There are many moving parts to inbound marketing and it can become needlessly complicated to explain. Fortunately, one of the best grahpical explanations of inbound marketing is the one shown above from HubSpot. (My marketing agency and clients use HubSpot's software.)
But reading about a concept can only go so far. That's why I made a few short videos to help explain the inbound marketing methodology. So sit back and enjoy these videos that I hope will help bring the whole concept together for you. (I have included the text of each video.)
If you’re frustrated with how traditional marketing just doesn't generate the sales leads it once did, you’re not alone.
The marketing megaphone is broken.
Gone are the days when you could really get your prospects’ attention with traditional, interruptive marketing like advertising, direct mail, cold calling and email spam.
Modern technology allows people to avoid your marketing messages. Be honest, have you ever not answered the phone because it was a sales call?
And now, your prospects want to do their own research before they talk to you. One study found that buyers are at least 57% through their purchase before they first talk to the seller.
So what can you do? You might want to consider inbound marketing. It’s becoming the most effective marketing method for generating leads.
Instead of the old outbound marketing approach of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company. Like a big magnet.
By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers. If done right, it doesn’t even feel like marketing.
But does it work? Studies show that leads generated with inbound marketing cost less than leads generated with outbound marketing. And that’s why marketing budgets are shifting from outbound tactics to inbound.
From the megaphone to the magnet.
You don't want just any traffic to your site, you want the right traffic.
You want to attract the people who are most likely to become leads, and, ultimately, happy customers who buy more from you and tell others.
Who are the “right” people? Your ideal customers. Also known as buyer personas.
Buyer personas are profiles of what your ideal customers are really like. What are their biggest challenges? What would make them really successful? What's keeping them up at night? What are their objections to buying a product like yours? Your personas are the people your whole business is built around.
So how do we attract these ideal prospects? Here are three of the most important ways.
- Keywords - Your customers start by using a search engine to find solutions to problems they have. So you need to make sure you’re appearing in the search results. To get there, you need to carefully and analytically pick your keywords, optimize your pages and create content around the terms your buyers are searching for. In fact, your whole site needs to be a beacon of helpful content to lure the right traffic.
- Blogging - The single best way to attract new website visitors is with a blog. In order to get found by the right prospective customers, you need to create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.
- Social Media – Here’s how Jay Baer explains social media. “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” Once you’re generating helpful content, share it on social media, engage with your prospects and put a human face on your company.
So, with the right traffic coming to your site, it’s time to generate leads.
Once you’ve got the right visitors to your site, the next step is to convert them into leads by gathering their contact information. At the very least, you’ll need their email address.
Contact information is the most valuable currency there is to the online marketer. In order for your visitors to offer up that currency, you need to offer them something in return.
That comes in the form of content, like ebooks, whitepapers, or tip sheets -- whatever information would be interesting and valuable to your buyer persona.
Some of the most important tools in converting visitors to leads include:
- Calls-to-Action - Calls-to-action are buttons or links that encourage your visitors to take action, like “Download an eBook” or “Attend a Webinar.” If you don’t have enough calls-to-action or your calls-to-action aren’t enticing enough, you won’t generate many leads.
- Landing Pages - When a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action, they should then be sent to a landing page. A landing page is where the offer in the call-to-action is fulfilled, and where the prospect provides information that your sales team can use to begin a conversation with them.
And that is how you generate a lead! Now, on to the close.
You're doing great: You’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, but now you need to transform those leads into customers.
How do you do that? This is where a variety of marketing tools help make sure you’re closing the right leads at the right times, such as:
- Lead Scoring - You’ve got leads, but how do you know which ones are ready to speak to your sales team? Scoring the sales-readiness of a lead takes the guesswork out of the process.
- Email - What do you do if a visitor clicks on your call to action, fills out a landing page, or downloads your eBook, but still isn’t ready to become a customer? A series of emails with useful, relevant content can build trust and help them become more ready to buy.
- Marketing Automation - This involves creating preprogramed email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs and stage of each lead. For example, if a visitor downloaded an ebook on a certain topic from you in the past, you might want to send that lead a series of emails related to that same topic.
- Closed-loop Reporting - How do you know which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads? Is your sales team closing those best leads into customers? Integration with your Customer Relationship Management system allows you to analyze just how well your marketing and sales teams are working together.
So is that the end? No! Now you’ve got a happy customer. And you want to use inbound marketing to stay in touch with the customer to keep them happy and raving about your company.
Have you ever heard it’s a lot cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one? It’s true.
Happy customers who love a company are becoming a competitive advantage for businesses.
But one of the biggest unforced errors that companies commit is ignoring their customers after the sale. Or worse, they’re irritating customers AND ignoring them. And now with social media, angry customers can broadcast to the world about a bad experience with your company.
With inbound marketing you can deepen the relationship with your customers and the trust they have in you, and (hopefully) sell them more and enlist them into your army of raving fans. So the same kind of marketing you did to get your customers can help you keep and delight them.
For instance, with email and marketing automation you can keep your customers delighted with more helpful content, and introduce new products they might like. And with social media, you can provide real-time customer service and encourage your customers to share the love.
Inbound marketing not only helps you attract, convert and close, it helps you delight your customers and grow your business.
To many, this is a new approach to marketing. But it works. And the secret to success… is getting started.