You have probably heard of inbound marketing, but you might not be familiar with how it differs from traditional online marketing. So what is inbound marketing exactly and what makes it unique? Since 2006, inbound marketing has been one of the most effective marketing methods for marketing your business online, generating leads, and decreasing your conversion times.
The concept of inbound marketing takes your digital strategy to the next level of lead generation and customer engagement by providing your prospects with the content they need to make their buying decision. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and hoping for leads (likely less than qualified leads), inbound marketing focuses on delivering quality to your audience where and when they need it the most. By aligning the content you publish with your audience's interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and engage over time.
By creating content and a marketing approach specifically designed to appeal to your ideal prospects, inbound marketing attracts these qualified prospects to your business through content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media, and keeps them coming back for more helpful content. The best part about inbound marketing is that it is not a paid form of advertising, so your content can live on your site as long as you want it to without costing you any money. The difference between that and paid advertising, is that when you stop paying for ads with Google Adwords, Facebook ads, and more, your leads and website traffic will stop immediately as well. This is not the case with inbound marketing.
There are 4 marketing stages that are critical when you are thinking about inbound marketing: Attract, Convert, Close & Delight. Let's take some time to explore each of these in more detail.
- Attract: Attracting prospects is the first step in the inbound marketing methodology. At this initial marketing stage, the prospect is searching for content to help them solve a problem. Your organize can create that content to provide it to your prospect at the right place and at the right time through search engine optimization, blogging, and social media marketing.
- Convert: Once you attract the right visitors to the site, the goal is to now convert them into leads through obtaining their contact information on a landing page. In order to receive this valuable information, they need to get something in return. This is when you should deliver them premium-level content that is going to aid in their decision-making journey. This helps give them the information they are looking for, while providing you, the marketer, with their contact information to effectively market to them in the future.
- Close: The closing stage is where leads are transformed into customers. At this later marketing stage, specific marketing tools such as email marketing, marketing automation, lead nurturing, and social media monitoring are utilized to ensure that the correct leads are handed to sales at the right time (if you are B2B), so they can connect with the prospect and close the deal. If you are B2C, you are using these channels to educate your prospect to a point where they are ready to purchase.
- Delight: Inbound marketing revolves around providing outstanding content to both your leads AND your customers. This means that even after a lead becomes a customer, they still must be engaged through dynamic content, social media, and trigger marketing. The goal of delighting customers is both solving their issues, and turning them into promoters of your business. You always need to think about the customer because they can be the biggest advocates for your brand, or the biggest detractors.
You can learn more about each of the phases of inbound marketing in more detail, including tools and tips to help you maximize each stage of the inbound marketing process, by clicking on each phase below.
- Inbound Marketing Methodology Stage 1: Attract
- Inbound Marketing Methodology Stage 2: Convert
- Inbound Marketing Methodology Stage 3: Close
- Inbound Marketing Methodology Stage 4: Delight
The Inbound Marketing Methodology involves the marketer in every stage of a prospect's journey to finding the perfect product or service by attracting the right visitors to your website, converting them into qualified leads, closing more sales, and delighting your customers. The more you put into your inbound marketing strategy and process, the more impactful your results will be. Remember that the best inbound marketing results are achieved through digital channels and tactics that allow you to create and deliver specific and rewarding content and marketing for your leads and customers at exactly the right time based on where they are in the buyer's journey.
If you're looking for ways to integrate more inbound efforts into your overall digital marketing strategy, we invite you to schedule a complimentary inbound marketing consultation with one of our inbound marketing experts. You can also subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date on the latest inbound marketing news, trends and insights.