Inbound marketing is applicable to just about every industry. It works by utilizing different forms of content to attract potential customers in various stages of the buyer's journey to your website. Its flexibility makes tailoring an inbound strategy to your business' needs and goals is easy. Despite this, many e-commerce sites don't know how to utilize inbound marketing.
Blue Apron's inbound marketing efforts are a great example of how it can be used in an e-commerce setting. They utilize social media to cater to potential customers in each stage of the buyer's journey as well as keep existing customers engaged.
They post helpful information or interesting facts about where their food comes from. The post below gives instructions on how to create a spice blend. This establishes Blue Apron as a resource for potential and existing customers, establishing trust, and keeps existing customers engaged.
They take a similar approach with their blog. There is a myriad of helpful information that targets people in every stage of the buyer's journey. They attract organic traffic through writing posts about dinner ideas, cooking tips, etc. A buyer's journey might go something like this:
- Susan needs new dinner ideas so she Google's "dinner ideas". She lands on a blog post about fresh dinner ideas and tips on Blue Apron's blog. She uses the recipe and bookmarks the blog for later. (Awareness Stage)
- Susan comes back to Blue Apron's blog to find cooking tips and gradually learns more about Blue Apron's meal delivery services. She signs up for their email list to learn more and continue to get more recipes. By submitting her information on a form or landing page, Susan has officially become a lead.
- Blue Apron sends Susan recipes, similar to the ones she viewed on their website. Their inbound marketing software logs her activity on their site and tailors the content they deliver to her based on her interests. They are also able to mark her as a qualified lead when her activity matches certain criteria. (Consideration Stage)
- They continue to send her helpful cooking information and information that addresses hesitations people typically about their meal service. Eventually they send her a discounted offer to sign up for their meal delivery services. (Decision Stage)
- Since Blue Apron has been helpful (establishing trust) and addressed her hesitations, Susan decides to sign up!
We've talked about how Blue Apron uses inbound marketing, but what's the benefit? By producing content in various forms and targeting people who are in different phases of the buyer's journey, they are able to nurture potential customers into leads and eventually into customers. Inbound does this by:
- Generating more qualified leads based one the content they expressed interest in.
- Creating brand awareness.
- Establishing credibility and trust
- Enhancing organic search.
The numbers below demonstrate the benefits inbound marketing can yield. In 2016, an MIT student conducted a study of ROI using inbound marketing. The study focused specifically on the inbound methodology outlined by Hubspot. The study concluded that:
- 92.3% of those surveyed saw an increase in web traffic.
- 92.7% of those surveyed saw an increase in leads.
- 49.2% of those surveyed saw an increase in sales.
- 72% of those surveyed saw an increase in revenue within one year.
These benefits are not exclusive to a particular industry. Inbound marketing can be customized to fit any e-commerce website. Start by understanding who you want your customers to be and how to reach them in each phase of the buyer's journey. Map out a content plan and plan how you will move potential customer through their journey until they become customers. Check out the download below for more tips and trips on inbound marketing!