Over the last several years inbound marketing has evolved into the most effective online marketing method out there. This method is a significant departure from traditional outbound methods that are marketer-centric and fight for a potential customer's attention. Where outbound marketing methods focus on buying ad space, sending mailers, and buying email lists, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that brings leads to your company and product. This is accomplished by aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests. We are bombarded with so many ads each day that getting your message to stand out is becoming increasingly difficult. If your brand wants to stand out, it is time for a new approach. Inbound marketing is a way to break through the noise buy positioning your company as a resource for the information your potential customers need.
Check out these numbers to see just how effective inbound can be. In 2016, an MIT student conducted a study of ROI using inbound marketing. The study focused specifically on the methodology outlined by Hubspot. The study concluded the following:
- 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.
Exactly how is an inbound strategy implemented? Hubspot's methodology has four phases.
In the attract phase, the focus is on turning strangers into website visitors by being a resource. Create content for your ideal buyer personas who are in the awareness phase of the buyer's journey. The content should consist of blogs and social postings that provide value and answer the questions your potential buyer is trying to answer. The content should not promote your company or products. Remember, inbound is all about providing valuable content that helps your potential customers.
The goal of the convert phase is to gather additional information about the visitor and convert them into a lead. Typically, this is done through an offer. Offers allow you to send your potential customer something of value that serves as an additional resource (an ebook, a template, a white paper). Leads receive the offer once they visit a landing page and fill out a brief form.
Keep track of the leads in a CRM. Storing your data in one place helps you make sense out of every interaction and map how to nurture that lead. Every interaction should be documented, whether it is via email, on the phone, or in person.
Interactions should be focused on the lead's problems and developing possible solutions. Do not turn interactions into a presentation about how great your company is.
In this phase, your goal is to convert your lead to a customer. Ensure that both you and your prospect are 100% on the same page concerning responsibilities, cost, and possible outcomes. Once your lead has verbally agreed to become a customer, getting the contract to them in a timely manner is crucial to ensuring everything goes through.
When someone becomes a customer, that does not mean you are done. Take the time to gather feedback through surveys and social media. Keep them engaged by continuing to produce intriguing content. Reach out to them with any information you come across that may be useful to them.
Implementing a successful inbound strategy takes time and perseverance as it can take up to a year to begin seeing results. Creating and fine-tuning an inbound marketing strategy is a process. Mighty is a Hubspot Agency Partner and would be happy to discuss inbound with you more in-depth. Hubspot and Marketo also have helpful resources when building an inbound strategy.
Given its proven success over outbound, inbound marketing is the key to brands standing out now and for the foreseeable future.