How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
Running a business isn’t what it used to be. Whereas before word-of-mouth was enough for most small businesses, today’s high-tech landscape calls for a sophisticated digital marketing strategy. All of us are constantly bombarded with bids for our attention, and not all of them are appreciated. So how do you make your business stand out? By creating a successful inbound marketing strategy that delights and dazzles your target audience. If the thought of getting started makes you feel more queasy than excited, don’t worry; we’re going to cover the ABC’s of this unique marketing strategy so you can start increasing brand awareness like a pro.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a business approach that prioritizes creating valuable content in order to attract new leads. This usually involves things like blogs, social media, and videos that are educational and informative in nature.
The key to being successful with this strategy is to produce content that shows potential customers how your products or services can solve their problems. This doesn’t mean your content should be all about selling; rather, the goal is to connect with your customers by sharing relevant content that addresses their “pain points,” while offering solutions to those problems.
By consistently offering free valuable content, you’ll develop a long-term relationship with your customers, who in turn will be more likely to promote your business to others.
Outbound vs Inbound Marketing
To understand the difference between outbound and inbound marketing, it helps to think of them as symbols of push and pull.
Outbound marketing is primarily focused on pushing their marketing messages out into the world, in the hopes of getting a sale. Inbound, on the other hand, is all about pulling new customers in through targeted content marketing that engages and educates your ideal customer.
Instead of pitching your business to anyone and everyone, via outbound marketing, you’re tailoring your message to a specific group of people who are much more likely to buy your product or service.
The other main difference is that outbound usually takes the form of more traditional marketing tactics, such as cold calling, flyers in the mail, TV advertisements, and magazine ads.
With an increasing number of people turning to digital content for their news and purchases, it makes sense that the outbound method is now considered old-fashioned.
The Stages Of Inbound Marketing
As you begin to craft your inbound marketing strategy, it’s crucial to understand the different stages a potential customer goes through when they first discover your brand.
According to HubSpot, there are 4 stages you’ll want to guide your customers through: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. Each phase is focused on converting a new lead to the next stage, with the final goal of them becoming loyal customers who share your brand with friends and family – i.e. free advertising!
The Attract stage starts with your blog, webinars, or social media posts; that free valuable content designed to pull your ideal customer in. A big part of this stage is having a deep understanding of your buyer persona, which is a comprehensive description of your ideal buyer based on market research.
The second stage, Convert, is where you start gently nudging your attracted audience to become leads. Landing pages and calls to action will become invaluable at this phase.
In order to nurture new leads, you’re going to need their contact information, which is where the landing page and CTA comes into play. And because you can’t get something for nothing, you’ll want to offer some kind of incentive, or freebie, in exchange for their contact info.
In the third stage, Close, the marketing gets taken up a notch. Now that you have a robust list of leads, it’s time to “close” them by turning them into paying customers. This phase has more of a sales approach through things like email marketing and marketing automation.
Finally, and probably the most important stage of all, is the Delight phase of your customer’s journey. When someone buys your product or service, that’s your chance to develop a lasting relationship that will encourage brand loyalty.
In a friendship, you don’t just interact with that person once and then never contact them again. Instead, you keep showing that person you care by checking in regularly.
It’s the same thing for your customers.
Continue to interact with them online through your social media pages and emails. Delighting your customers is all about giving them positive experiences that turn them into loyal supporters.
Inbound Marketing Techniques To Start Using ASAP
Now that you have a solid knowledge of what inbound marketing means, let’s take a look at some of the best strategies you can easily incorporate into your overall marketing approach.
Creating a survey is an awesome way to get to know your customers better, and can give you more insight into what challenges they face. This technique is recommended if you already have a substantial email list.
Another thing you’ll want to do is add more visual content to your blog or website. Infographics and videos are examples of ways you can make your content more visually appealing.
In fact, video is becoming a potent form of marketing, especially on social media. According to a 2021 report from Wyzowl, 86% of marketers agree that video has been an effective strategy for increasing leads.
Developing relationships with influencers is another great way to spread brand awareness, but it requires an investment of time in the beginning, not unlike the Attract phase we discussed earlier.
Begin by following influencers on social media that match your buyer persona and brand, then start engaging with them. Be sure to comment on their posts and offer genuine appreciation from the start.
By establishing a relationship early on that’s focused on them, not you, they’ll be much more likely to accept your request for promotion down the road.
Compared to the dated forms of outbound marketing, inbound marketing is a powerful way to attract not just customers, but brand cheerleaders who will stick around for the long-term.
When you put in the time to understand the unique needs and challenges of your buyer persona, you can build an effective inbound marketing strategy that capitalizes on search engine optimization to bring more visitors to your site.
After that, it’s on you to keep them there by providing free valuable content that convinces them to take the next step in the buying process.
By following the 4 stages of Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight, you’ll be well on your way to building a resilient business that’s founded on genuine relationships rather than pushy sales messaging.
So now the question is: What inbound marketing techniques are you going to start using in 2023?