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What is inbound marketing?

We're glad you asked.

 

Yesterday we used interruptive advertising to lure customers.

Today we earn their trust by creating content they find valuable.

  Get Started with Inbound »

 

Don’t fight the Internet. Harness it.

Once consumers went online, they had the upperhand over marketers. Shoppers took control of the sales process and began asking questions online, researching their pain points and identifying potential solutions without any help from TV ads or sales people. 

Smart brands quit spending huge amounts of time and money buying ads that no one wanted to see. Instead, they began to attract visitors through content the consumer found valuable. By aligning content with customer interests, these brands were able to naturally attract inbound traffic and build trust rather than asking people to “Buy Now!” right from the beginning.

The Four Stages of the
Inbound Marketing Methodology

From Prospect to Promoter
 

We're here to walk you through how inbound marketing can influence and guide the buyer's journey.

 

 

Attract Visitors

Getting people to your site isn’t your top priority. (Crazy, right?) You want the right people. The people most likely to become customers, and, more specifically, the people most likely to become happy customers. In Inbound Marketing, you do this by creating semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The goals, challenges, pain points, common objections to products and services, personal and demographic information – the more info you use to build your personas, the better your content will be.

Speaking of which, here are some of the most important tools you can use to attract the right users:

BloggingBlogging. Inbound starts with blogging. Blogs have immense power to help your site get found by customers and search engines alike. They’re also a great way to deliver educational content that quickly creates trust between a person and a brand.

Search Engine OptimizationSEO. When was the last time you searched for something online and purchased from a result that was on the third page or later? Optimizing your pages and content for the person and search engines looking for it is crucial.

Social Media Monitoring and EngagementSocial. Build your social networks to share your amazing content, segment your audience into relevant groups to monitor, and engage with those most likely to find value in it. Social is your chance to give your brand a voice you can use to get your name out there.

Website PagesPages. Your website is your store. Your flagship. If it’s not optimized to educate potential customers looking to learn more and sell to those ready to buy – you’re losing out. Your site should be helpful, easy to navigate, and make each visitor feel it was made just for them.

Convert Leads

Ok, you have some visitors – now what? Convert them into leads by collecting their info. Start with a name and email address and go from there. They’re not just going to hand it over, though. You’re going to have to trade. Offer your visitors something they find exceptionally valuable – an ebook, white paper, free shipping… The info you get in return is the most valuable currency there is to your marketing efforts.

Content that works well for  converting visitors into leads includes:

FormsForms. To collect a visitor’s info, you’ve got to give them a place for them to enter it. Make it easy as possible for the user and consider each field another dollar added to the price of your content. If the price gets too high (you require too many fields) – they’re not going to pay.

Landing PagesLanding Pages. When your visitor clicks a CTA for a content offer, they end up on a landing page where they enter their info in exchange for the promised content. This is the most common place for a visitor to be converted to a lead. 

Call to ActionCalls-to-Action. If you want your visitor to act – you’re going to need a CTA. From simply filling out a form to hitting that “buy now” button, your CTAs are vital for getting the conversions that keep your marketing world turning.

ContactsContacts. Once you get a name and email address, you’ve got yourself a contact. Keep adding info to your CRM (customer relationship management) system. Having all your data in one place helps you optimize every interaction. 

Close Customers

Once you have leads, create content personalized for their persona and stage in the buyer’s journey that helps you close the deal and turn that lead into a customer.

Content that works well for converting visitors into leads includes:

Customer Relationship ManagementCRM. Keep track of the details about all the contacts, companies, and deals in your pipeline, and easily get in touch with the right prospects at the right time. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems facilitate sales by making sure you have the right information at your fingertips to better engage with prospects across every channel.

Email MarketingEmail. What do you do if a visitor clicks on your call-to-action, fills out a landing page, or downloads your whitepaper, but still isn’t ready to become a customer? A series of emails focused on useful, relevant content can build trust with a prospect and help them become more ready to buy.

Closed Loop ReportingClosed-Loop Reporting. How do you know which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads? Is your sales team effectively closing those best leads into customers? Integration with your CRM system allows you to analyze just how well your marketing and sales teams are playing together.

Marketing AutomationMarketing Automation. This process involves creating email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs and lifecycle stage of each lead. For example, if a visitor downloaded a whitepaper on a certain topic from you in the past, you might want to send that lead a series of related emails. But if they follow you on Twitter and visited certain pages on your website, you might want to change the messaging to reflect those different interests.

 

Delight and Create Promoters

Delight is the foundation of Inbound. By delighting customers, you can not only generate more sales, but you can also create brand evangelists who in turn create new visitors, leads, and sales all on their own.

Tools used to delight customers include:

SurveysSurveys. Want to know what you could do better? Ask your customers. If it seems simple, that’s because it is. And that’s a good thing. Giving your customers what they want doesn’t need to be hard.

Smart TextSmart Text. The way you talk to your customers should also be tailor-fit for them. The content you give a customer should be very different from that of a prospect. Acknowledge their support while helping them solve other problems or get more enjoyment out of the product or service they purchased from you.

Smart Call to ActionSmart CTAs. Everyone wants to be treated like a regular and doing so can really boost a customer’s delight. Be sure your customers get CTAs that fit who they are (their persona) and where they are in their buyer’s journey.

Social MonitoringSocial Monitoring. People like companies who listen, and social media is a great place to do that. Listen out for your customers’ questions and opinions and provide relevant answers, support, or content whenever you can.

BUILDING BLOCKS

Content Creation

Create targeted content that answers customers' and potential customers’ questions and needs, then share that content far and wide.

Lifecycle Marketing

When we say “targeted content,” that means knowing who your customers are and where they are in their buyer’s journey. Making your content more specific makes it more effective at converting strangers to leads, leads to customers, and customers into promoters.

Personalization

Remember when we said to harness the Internet instead of fighting it? Personalization is one of the best ways to do that. Every bit of data collected on a lead can be used to give content more impact and value by speaking to each lead’s specific needs.

Multi-Channel

Wherever your prospects are, that’s where your content needs to be. Inbound strategies are built with this in mind to ensure your content is always in the right spot for the most engagement.

Integration

Every piece of content you create needs to be rowing your brand’s boat in the same direction. All types of content, all channels, all audiences – with Inbound, it all works together to achieve your goal.

Getting started can be the hardest part. clickbelowarrow.png
This handy audit makes it easy.

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No time? Skip right to the end where you get a free 16-point Inbound Marketing Self Audit to find out the health of your marketing plan and what to do about it.

Download your 2017 Marketing Audit »