The Inbound Marketing Methodology
Over the years, your website has become an important marketing tool. Inbound marketing continues to be a proven marketing framework that delivers results. Inbound marketing is a marketing framework that delivers your marketing message the way your customer wants it, through value-driven marketing.
What Is Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing definition: a strategy that marketers employ to attract leads and capture new business by using content like blogs, white papers, email, social media, and SEO.
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting a new customer to your website through compelling, value-driven content. This content earns your customer’s attention because it is highly valuable to the end-user. This content not only helps find new traffic, but it helps build repeat traffic that is more likely to convert to a lead.
So, what is the difference between inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing? In order to answer this question, let’s dive in and understand the differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing.
Outbound or traditional marketing involves marketing methods that target customers and explain the benefits of your product or service via direct mail, telemarketing, trade shows, radio, or television.
Inbound marketing involves marketing methods that attract customers to your website. Using your business blog, social media accounts, and email marketing inbound marketing is intended to help customers find solutions to their problems.
The Difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing
The major difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is the delivery method of your marketing message. Inbound marketing relies on attracting customers versus outbound marketing targets customers.
Why Is Inbound Marketing Important for Business Growth?
The inbound marketing methodology is very beneficial to any company that is willing to take the time to invest in the methodology. There are many benefits of inbound marketing, but we think that the most attractive benefit of inbound marketing is the cost.
Inbound marketing costs 61% less than traditional marketing methods and continues to provide a positive return on investment over time. We like to explain the benefits of inbound marketing like compound interest.
Here is a real-world example. Your company creates 4 blogs per month. Each blog generates 25 new visitors to your website per month per blog. In total, you are generating 100 new visitors to your blog per month. Over the next year, you will have to increase your monthly traffic from 100 new visitors per month to 1,200 new visitors per month.
If you are able to convert 1% of your website traffic, you will increase your leads from 1 per month to 12 per month. This continues to snowball and continues to increase the number of leads your website is creating. You have now moved your website from the forest to the interstate.
The importance of inbound marketing goes beyond just website traffic. The more traffic you generate with your website, the more opportunities you are creating to generate leads, nurture leads, and increase revenue. Inbound marketing really is a long-term investment in the growth of your company.
The Inbound Marketing Methodology
We can now agree that inbound marketing is important to your business. Lower cost, more leads, and a website that is actually returning a profit all sound great. So, let’s really dive into the inbound marketing methodology.
There are 4 phases of the inbound marketing methodology; attracting new visitors, converting visitors to leads, nurturing leads to customers, and delighting new customers.
Attracting New Visitors
The goal of any marketing campaign is to find new customers. Traditionally, this has been done through television, radio, and print. The goal was to place your advertisement in the right place and gain as many impressions as possible. The more people that saw or heard your marketing message, the more potential customers would knock on your door.
Well, times have changed. Think of the last time you watched television without a DVR. That’s right, it has been a while. If you did watch television without DVR, you probably picked up your phone and checked in on Facebook when that commercial came on.
Today, attracting potential customers is done a little different. The focus of inbound marketing is attracting your ideal customer with quality content. The content created for inbound marketing campaigns needs to answer a question, solve a pain point, or entertain the user.
There are 4 main things you can do to attract your ideal customer.
BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS
Starting a blog for your business is the best way to drive traffic to your website. Your customers are searching Google right now looking for answers. Every time you create a blog post, you are given the opportunity to answer this question for them. Blogging for business gives your company a platform to engage and add value to your customer base. Starting a blog for your business is the first step in the inbound methodology.
A quick tip: If you are not the written word type, maybe your business blog is video-based. Video marketing can be another form of blogging. In fact, it is best practice to take your blog topic and turn it into a video.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social media marketing scares a lot of business owners, marketing managers, and just about everyone. However, this is where your customers are hanging out when they are watching television commercials. Creating compelling content for your customers and posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and any new flavor of the month social platform will get your inbound marketing message in front of your buyers.
If anything, social media is a great place to promote your blog that you worked so hard on. Creating a social media strategy that appeals to your buyers will attract more buyers to your business. Inbound marketing gives your social media a purpose, not just posting funny cat videos (unless you are a veterinarian, cat videos are great).
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search engine optimization is the marketing tactic of attracting visitors to your website through search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Finding the right keywords that your customers are searching for will attract more visitors to your website. Optimizing your website for high-traffic keywords will increase the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy.
Your blog and search engine optimization go hand in hand. Every time you blog for your business, the blog post should be optimized for one identified keyword. The more keywords your business targets, the more traffic your website will receive. search engine optimization of your website can pay off both in the short and long-term.
Converting Visitors to Leads
Your website is crawling with new traffic. Phase one of the inbound marketing methodology is starting to pay off. Phase two of the inbound methodology is about converting this website traffic into leads. The conversion process is what makes the inbound marketing method different and more effective than other marketing methods.
Let’s face it, marketing is only as good as the leads it creates. Without leads, marketing was a failure There are three main conversion mechanisms that will turn your website traffic into leads.
CALL TO ACTION
You have the attention of your potential customers. It is now time to tell them what you want them to do. Your call to action is going to be tied to the goal of your inbound marketing campaign. This can be as easy as downloading an eBook with further valuable information or scheduling a free inbound marketing consultation.
Your call to action is the first step in the conversion process. Typically, this is a link that directs the visitor to a landing page.
A landing page is a page on your website that has a specific purpose. This purpose is to pay off a call to action or give additional information about your product or services. Your landing page will include a form that the user can fill in order to get the offer from your call to action.
The exchange of information has happened. You now have a lead. Your customer database or CRM is a piece of software that holds the data and contact records. The customer database is vital to the inbound marketing method because it will aid in the close phase of the inbound marketing method.
In order to get the best results, your customer database should be tied in with your marketing platform and website. Having these pieces of software connected will ensure that your inbound marketing efforts are deployed and tracked accordingly. Your customer database is essential to the inbound marketing methodology.
Nurturing Leads to Customers
In the past, it has been the job of sales to knock on doors, make cold calls, and attend as many networking events as possible. The inbound marketing method helps sales professionals close more deals because of the helping nature of inbound marketing. The close phase of the inbound marketing methodology is the phase where visitors are turned into revenue.
Now that your customer database has filled up with leads, it is now time to close these leads and create lifelong customers.
FINDING WARM OPPORTUNITIES
It is easier for sales professionals to close leads when the lead is ready and willing to make a purchase. Because inbound marketing is built on a customer database that is tracking leads behaviors, the inbound methodology is able to identify these willing customers through lead scoring. When your lead is ready to purchase, your sales team will be notified.
SENDING THE RIGHT MESSAGE AT THE RIGHT TIME
When your potential customer is looking for a solution, odds are they are also shopping your competitor’s products. The inbound methodology is about adding value to the end-user through valuable content. While looking to close a lead, sending the right piece of content at the right time is critical. Every lead takes a different path to close, so sending content through email based on the behaviors they take on your website will deliver content at the right time to close the deal.
ADD VALUE THROUGH EMAIL
Sometimes leads go cold. Maybe the budget changed, they are demoing the competition, or maybe the needs of the business changed. This does not mean that they are a dead lead. Well-crafted email marketing can turn a cold lead into a ready and willing buyer. Email marketing is still one of the most profitable marketing tactics out there when executed correctly. Email marketing aligned with value-based content will help move the lead through the buyer’s journey.
CLOSING THE LOOP WITH ANALYTICS
You did it. You landed that new lead. First off, congrats. This is a huge day for the company, the sales professional, and your marketing team. In the past, marketing has never been held responsible for revenue. The inbound marketing methodology is built around data. By tagging and tracking inbound marketing through your customer database, you are going to be able to track revenue back to the campaign and the source responsible for the revenue.
Delighting New Customers
The customer has officially closed, and revenue has been recorded. It took time and hard work to get here. Here is where most marketing efforts stop, at realized revenue. However, it is much easier to keep a customer and get a referral from a customer than find a new customer.
The last step of the inbound marketing methodology is to delight your existing customers. That is right the inbound method really never stops, it just continues to add value and pump revenue back into your business.
What does your company do when you close that deal? Turn on the app and walk away? A great onboarding campaign will help your customers understand the ins and outs of your product or service. Make sure that your new customer is getting the same attention as when they were a new lead.
Again, the on-boarding process is about creating valuable content through your blog, customer portal, or automated email series. Customer onboarding is the first step to keeping and retaining a new customer.
DELIVER THE RIGHT UP-SELL
By tracking your customer’s behavior, you are able to tell what problems or questions they are having. Maybe your company offers a service that compliments their already purchased product. Make sure to send them a relevant offer at the right time. Sending the wrong up-sell could tarnish the brand and the relationship you worked so hard to build.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Yup, social media strikes again. Use your social media channels to deliver customer service or ask for that referral. Once your customer is fully on-board and loving your product or service, ask for that social media share. Social media is a great way to get your customers to share their feedback and review of your company. By delighting your customers, you are able to make the ask that many companies would love to get.
The inbound marketing methodology delivers a value-based marketing message, nurtures leads through the sales pipeline, and delights current customers. Inbound marketing is a complete marketing strategy that will help your business grow. Is it time to find an inbound marketing partner that will drive results for your business? Let us help you find the right inbound marketing partner for your business.
Why the Inbound Methodology Works?
Inbound marketing is the only form of marketing that is built around helping users. Traditionally, marketing has been a way to gain impressions and exposure for a brand by promoting a product or service. Inbound marketing takes this assumption and flips it on its head.
Your inbound marketing strategy must relate and add value to the end-user in order to be effective. Creating content that answers questions and helps your audience naturally attracts them to your brand. The more relevant your content to your customer, the more likely you will be able to connect, generating more leads.
The Future of Inbound Marketing
Is inbound marketing just the latest marketing fad or is the inbound methodology going to stand the test of time?
32% of marketers agree that paid advertising, including print, outdoor and broadcast, is the most overrated marketing tactic, according to HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report. Inbound marketing is based on digital marketing, the internet, and technology. So yes, inbound marketing might look different in 5-10 years, but the inbound marketing methodology is not going anywhere.
Just as the printing press changes mass communication in the 1400’s we expect social media, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and voice search like Alexa to push inbound marketing into new frontiers.
No matter what the technology, inbound marketing will continue to be about attracting customers through relevant, helpful information. The medium or distribution channel will change, the intent will stay the same.
Inbound Marketing Statistics
The proof is in the pudding. If you are a marketer, business owner, entrepreneur, or just like marketing statistics you need to know the facts about the inbound marketing methodology. Here are a few statistics about inbound marketing from HubSpot.
- Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. (Econsultancy, 2016)
- Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. (Mashable, 2015) The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. (Backlinko, 2016)
- 50% of search queries are four words or longer. (WordStream, 2016)
- 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2017)
- 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. (Google, 2015)
- B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Google, 2014)
- 72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015)
- 40% of marketers say the most challenging obstacle to search engine optimization success is changing search algorithms. (Ascend2, 2015)
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
- 30% of mobile searches are related to a location. (Google, 2016)
- 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)
- Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014)
- 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)
- 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2017)
- 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016)
- Compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)
- Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. (HubSpot, 2016)
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
- B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
- B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
- 75% of HubSpot’s blog views and 90% of blogs leads come from old posts. (HubSpot, 2014)
- Some 15% of internet users read or comment on discussion forums such as Reddit, Digg, or Slashdot, while 10% use the blogging website Tumblr. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
- 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (HubSpot, 2016)
- Titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)
- B2B marketers say the #1 benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more and better leads. (Pepper Global, 2014)
- Marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads than those using blast email software and are perceived by their peers to be 2X as effective at communicating. (Autopilot, 2015)
- 67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)
- 70% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority. (HubSpot, 2017)
- More than 60% of marketers use mass email blasts to stay in touch with customers, however, only 13% are using automation software. (Autopilot, 2015)
- Marketing technology represents 33% of the average marketing budget. (Gartner, 2016)
- 28% of marketing technology spend goes to infrastructure (e.g., servers, storage, network) to run marketing software. (Gartner, 2016)
- Marketing technology spend is now higher than advertising spends for companies. (Gartner, 2016)
- 64% of marketers say they saw the benefits of using marketing automation within the first six months of its implementation. (Regalix, 2015)
- Nearly 70% of businesses are using a marketing automation platform or are currently implementing one. (Aberdeen, 2014)
- Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)
- 37% of marketers state that budget constraints hinder them from conducting an effective marketing automation strategy. (Pepper Global, 2014)
Is the Inbound Methodology Right for Your Business?
Only you can determine if the investment in inbound marketing is worth it to your business. So, to help you make an informed decision, here are 5 reasons your business needs inbound marketing.
The shift in the buyer’s power
As we stated before, there has been a shift in power. The customer no longer needs you. They can move right past the salesperson and find the information that they need and make an educated decision. Inbound marketing gives your business the ability to be found when your customer is ready to buy.
Decreased marketing cost
Inbound marketing costs 61% less than traditional marketing. Traditional/outbound marketing cost money to get impressions. From radio commercials, airtime on television, or postage to send direct mail, these are hard costs. A blog post or social media post only takes the time to create it.
Multi-touch marketing campaigns
Inbound marketing is built around sending the right message at the right time. During an inbound marketing campaign, you can touch the customer with a blog post, email marketing, social media moving the customer down the sales pipeline.
Generate Qualified Leads
Outbound marketing uses mass distribution channels to deliver your marketing message. Inbound marketing delivers value-driven content to the buyer when they are looking for solutions. This paradigm shift help generates leads that are ready to buy, making these leads more qualified.
Inbound marketing will only work if you change your perspective on sales and marketing. If your perspective is still outbound, promotion driven, inbound marketing will not work for you. Inbound will take an adjustment in your thinking of marketing.