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What is Inbound Marketing?

The marketing world has evolved dramatically over time. The “Mad Men” era of traditional marketing is long gone. It’s considered old school now.

Try to remember the last time you purchased an item or service. Did you actually wait for a particular ad to pop up on TV? Did you call a salesperson to ask about their service?

NOPE!!!

You probably did what most people do these days. Open Google and did your own research. You may not know it but you’re already part of this modern revolutionary marketing process.

It’s a fundamental shift in the way we do business in this high-tech superconnected world we live in today. It’s called inbound marketing.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is a traditional type of marketing that involves putting your message out to the masses and hoping that it resonates with your audience.

But traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore. Today, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to block out these unsolicited messages with services like spam filtering, ad-blocking and caller ID.

On the other hand, inbound marketing is a marketing strategy focused on attracting, educating and empowering consumers via relevant content that helps and guides them until they’re ready to purchase your product or service.

The inbound marketing methodology can be applied in three ways:

  • Attract: draw the right kind of people who are interested in your product or service.
  • Engage: offer value and solve their problems so they are more likely to buy from you.
  • Delight: providing help and support so customers feel overpowered by their purchases.
Source: HubSpot

Inbound marketing is about inviting the customer to come to you with problems you can solve. It’s about satisfying their needs and inspiring them so every customer gets you another one, creating a self-sustaining loop.

From the customer perspective, inbound marketing feels more natural and authentic. Because your customers will seek out and find your content and your message rather than you going after them and shoving it down their throat.

This is how your organization builds momentum, and this is why the inbound methodology serves as a strong foundation for your flywheel.

What’s the Flywheel?

Source: HubSpot

The flywheel is a term coined by HubSpot. It demonstrates how you can turn strangers into promoters through the inbound methodology and how this method can easily accelerate your return on investment (ROI) and the rate of qualified leads entering your sales funnel.

As you move from attracting to engaging to delighting, you’re building momentum that makes the flywheel turn. As the flywheel spins, it turns the strangers into leads, leads into customers, and at the end, those customers to promoters.

Source: HubSpot

For the flywheel to keep spinning, the amount of energy needs to be greater than the resistance pushing against it. In marketing, you’re always going to meet resistance, particularly at the start of the process.

When your flywheel starts out spinning, it’s going to be pretty slow so it’s easy to slow down with that resistance.

But when your flywheel gains traction, that’s where the fun begins because now the resistance that threatened to slow or stop everything, in the beginning, doesn’t affect you anymore.

Instead of having to constantly fund attraction strategies, you’re now in a position where your promoters bring in new people for you.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

Below are specific strategies for each inbound method of attracting, engaging, and delighting consumers to keep your flywheel spinning and help your business grow better.

Attracting Strategies

There’s never been more support to help you answer search queries and bump up your search rankings. Content marketing, in particular, is awesome as an inbound marketing methodology in the attracting stage.

By using the combination of social media marketing, SEO and helpful content, you can start showing your customers how valuable you and your products are to encourage all-important conversions.

There are a ton of parallels between attracting strategies and the awareness stage. Both aims to woo customers towards your products by showing how useful they are.

Now that you’ve shot up a flare and found your tribe, it’s time to work on selling to them.

Engaging Strategies

You want to make sure that your prospects are engaging with what you do and actively making the decision to pursue a long term relationship with your business.

This is where your inbound marketing methodology will begin to depend a lot more on your specific business and how you go about marketing and selling to potential buyers.

eCommerce businesses, for example, might use engaging strategies like building specific email campaigns to market certain solutions to certain customer profiles.

On the other hand, if you have sales reps that handle calls from interested prospects, engaging strategies could include things like having a strategy for calling back leads to create more opportunities and spending more time talking about the customer’s issues than the actual product you’re selling.

With engaging strategies, it’s vital to remember to sell a solution, not a product. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product if your prospects don’t think they have any need for them.

And if they don’t have any need for them, attempting to sell them regardless comes across as cheap and scammy. In short, inbound leads need to feel like they’re entering a mutually benefitted arrangement.

Delgihting Strategies

Delighting is more than just closing deals. It’s all about making sure the customer is happy with what they’ve bought and has a line of communication with you if they need any more guidance and help.

It’s arguably the stage that provides the biggest impact. It makes the biggest difference between a customer that’s a one-hit-wonder and a customer that becomes your regular cheerleader.

Email surveys and using chatbots are a great way to make sure your customer is happy with their purchase. Plus, social media is a great opportunity to offer support, particularly as it’s an easy channel for customers to communicate through.

By responding to reviews and publicly answering questions customers ask on your page, you’re not just making sure every customer is happy with their experience but also showing potential customers the benefits of working with you.

Benefits of Inbound Marketing

While the benefits of inbound marketing might not be straightforward as other advertising techniques, they are much more valuable to your business in the long run.

Here are some key benefits of inbound marketing:

  • Own content that positions the company as an expert in the sector and that can be profitable for years.
  • Own channels for organic and direct customer acquisition, independent of the means of payment.
  • A database of qualified contacts that will grow over time.
  • Greater reach and community around the brand.
  • Strengthening your company’s brand, thanks to a greater number of visits and interactions.
  • A series of marketing automation processes that result in permanent resource savings.

Conclusion

If you want to build a brand that understands the value of relationships and emotional connections with potential clients, you have to use inbound marketing strategies.

This means interacting and engaging on social media and providing relevant information on topics that may interest potential buyers, which also creates a voice and a face for the brand.

It increases customer trust. More than 80 percent of customers conduct online research before deciding what to buy. If you present your company as an authoritative source in your industry, users may more likely to pick you.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bibhu Chakma

    I am sure this is the tactic that the successful service providing companies are moving ahead. Very useful write up and excellent demonstration.

    1. Aric Chakma

      Thank you. And you’re right. This strategy is used by big brands like Apple, Nike and Coca Cola. It’s the future of marketing. Customers don’t care about you unless you provide value to them.

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