Developing and implementing an Inbound Marketing strategy can help you attract, convert and nurture the qualified leads your business needs.
Inbound Marketing helps you to understand and focus on your potential buyers’ interests. It enables you to create quality content that positions you as a trusted, knowledgeable provider – and makes you more desirable than your competitors.
When implemented effectively, Inbound Marketing can help lower your cost-per-sale and grow your business – with proactive input, clear reporting, and a measurable ROI.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting prospects and customers to your website by offering them the relevant and helpful content they’re looking for. Then once they arrive, Inbound Marketing helps you to engage with them by automatically offering them more non-sales driven content over time – until they’re ready to spend money with you.
With inbound marketing (unlike outbound marketing), you don’t need to fight your competitors for potential customers’ attention. Instead you’ll have prospects finding their way to you, by creating content that’s designed to address their problems and needs. It’s a far more effective way of attracting qualified prospects and building trust and credibility for your business.
The difference between Inbound and Outbound marketing
Put simply, where outbound marketing uses “push” tactics, Inbound Marketing uses “pull” tactics by offering potential customers just what they want.
Instead of simply broadcasting a message out to “everyone”, hoping that someone will be interested enough to click through and visit your website, Inbound Marketing works to attract a specific buyer persona you’ve identified, by offering those people exactly the information and valuable content they’re looking for.
Your business can do this by setting up a wide variety of content online for potential leads to find, including blog posts, website pages and paid advertising, targeted social media and more.
Then when the right people are attracted by your marketing content, they’ll happily give you their permission to receive more information from your business regularly.
Inbound Marketing strategies & techniques
There are a few important elements that you should include to ensure your Inbound Marketing campaign is successful. They include:
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation: Even though it’s hardly new, SEO still has a crucial part to play in Inbound Marketing. It’s vital to make your website content visible and attractive to search engines such as Google, that prefer sites with extensive, current, information-rich content.
Perhaps even more importantly, the human visitors you want also look for valuable information about the problem or challenge they have. The key is to make sure your content positions your business as a trusted expert.
Content creation: There are any number of different content types you can create, starting with website pages and blog posts. Then there’s eBooks, white papers, videos, checklists, tip sheets, webinars… pretty much any well-thought-out and professionally presented content. Your business’s potential leads will be happy to “pay for” this more extensive information with some information about themselves.
Calls-to-action: Speaking of gathering information about prospects, there’s not much point in just creating content that’s a “one and done” deal. Make sure you give your readers the chance to take the next step in their relationship with your business, by giving you their email address or other contact details.
There are many different offers you can test to see what appeals: downloading an eBook; booking a short phone call with an expert; or perhaps making a discounted purchase there and then. A call-to-action requires a landing page to further entice visitors to respond to an offer.
Social media: Once you’ve created good quality content, it makes sense to promote it on the specific social media platforms that your buyer personas frequent. They make it possible for you to reach people beyond your website – and even to reach ‘similar audiences’ who’ve never even heard of your business.
Emails: Once you have a potential lead’s email address, you have the opportunity to stay top-of-mind with them by sending regular high value eDMs (that’s electronic Direct Mail).
Just remember that these emails shouldn’t be out-and-out sales pitches! Instead, they’re your opportunity to nurture your relationship with potential customers using valuable content that helps to reinforce your position as a trusted source of information.
Increase your sales team’s ROI by understanding how your buyers tick
Your business’s sales team represents a considerable investment. Inbound Marketing can help you improve the ROI you get from that investment by:
- Identifying Sales Qualified Leads
- Helping your salespeople to identify and focus on prospects who are more likely to convert
- Not wasting time talking to people who aren’t yet ready to buy – but not ignoring them either
- Nurturing prospects automatically until they’re ready to talk to a sales person
The process starts with understanding exactly who you’d prefer to be talking to. With a clear ‘buyer persona’ in mind, your Inbound Marketing process can help your sales team avoid the tyre kickers, and focus more of their efforts on people who are ready to buy with a little human input.
Understand who your customers really are using buyer personas
To help you direct your efforts to where they’ll have the biggest impact, it’s important to begin with a clear understanding of the people your Inbound Marketing should really speak to – i.e. your business’s ideal target audience.
They’re the kind of buyers your sales team REALLY want to deal with. Getting these figured out should be your first job.
That’s because with Inbound Marketing, rather than just trying to throw out a wide, costly net to “find more customers”, instead you try to zero in on your most desirable opportunities: your Buyer Personas.
You’ll find that defining your Buyer Personas is a thought-provoking exercise. The objective is to define the profitable, easy-to-get-along-with customers that you most want to attract to your business.
Defining your Buyer Personas:
- Give you a clear focus that helps improve your ROI
- Lets you target your message to elevate you above your competitors
- Helps you offer website content that attracts MORE of the people you want to sell to
- Ensures that the Sales Qualified Leads that are produced closely match the type of people that your sales team are looking for
Turning your potential customers into people is a powerful first step for your Inbound Marketing campaigns. It creates a solid foundation, and shapes everything else that follows.
When you ask the right questions, you’ll often unearth some remarkable insights when talking to your sales team or other customer-facing people in your business.
And don’t forget your Accounts team. They’re sure to know a few things about your customers that you might not – insight which can be very helpful.
One final thought: when you do all this, remember that your customers are real live people, not ‘prospects’. That little shift in thinking can help you keep your communication strategy grounded and realistic.
What is HubSpot Inbound Marketing?
HubSpot is powerful Inbound Marketing software and customer CRM in one. It enables you to see the history of individual contacts and everything they’ve done on your business’s website. HubSpot then allows you to automatically take an action (or ideally a series of actions) based on those identified activities.
So instead of carrying the mindset that you have just one chance to ask potential customers for their money, you can develop the relationship gradually and more naturally.
Don’t give up on potential customers who aren’t yet ready to buy
Many of the people who visit your website will be distracted. They’ll be time-poor, or looking at your site on a mobile, or perhaps overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices they have. These people are unlikely to commit to buying from you straight away.
On top of that, there are also the ‘tyre kickers’ to deal with – those awkward souls who are unlikely to ever become customers, yet suck up your sales team’s precious time nonetheless.
But if they are interested in your products or services, but not quite ready to buy right now, HubSpot lets you have a ‘Plan B’ to keep them thinking about you, right up until they’re willing to hand you their cash.
Marketing automation allows you to both weed out the time wasters AND stay in touch with the ‘convince me’ crowd. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save your sales team.
Nurture more leads all the way through your online sales funnel
Your potential customers don’t want to be “sold to”. They want to feel that they are in control; and accessing the information they need when they are ready.
With HubSpot you can start with making potential leads a “low bar” offer such as downloading a relevant eBook, starting a trial, or even just signing up for your e-newsletter.
Then, once a lead has taken up that low bar offer and happily given you their email address in return, you’ll have the ability to nurture your connection with that person over time.
Automated lead nurturing lets you attempt a series of ‘micro-conversions’ to increase prospects’ level of engagement, and give them a better understanding of:
- The solutions your business offers
- The quality of your products and services
- The real ‘value story’ of your business
- The benefits they’ll get when they buy from you
The magic of it is, all this is done so subtly that your potential customers won’t even notice they’re being marketed to. You can see how this approach gives you a far better chance of success – and ultimately sales.
And the tyre kickers? Some of them could potentially become customers with enough patient nurturing and persistent contact. That’s probably not going to give your sales team sufficient ROI if they try and do it themselves. But with HubSpot marketing automation, all that is taken care of for them, allowing you to reap the rewards very cost-effectively if and when they come around.
Inbound Marketing produces 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices.
Is Inbound Marketing right for your business?
The chances are that yes, your business could benefit from using Inbound Marketing techniques. Research from HubSpot shows that Inbound Marketing produces 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices.
When properly implemented, Inbound Marketing can function as something close to the Holy Grail: a ‘closed loop’ that lets you confidently assess the results your marketing is producing for your business.
‘Closed loop’ marketing means tracking your results to understand:
- Which offers and Calls To Action converted best
- Which sources brought in the most Sales Qualified Leads
- Which landing pages brought the most people into your sales funnel
- Which nurturing emails appealed best to your target personas
- Which forms on which pages bore the most profitable fruit, and
- Ultimately, how your customers discovered your business.
Inbound Marketing lets you understand each stage of your sales funnel, joining the dots so that you can see what’s working – and what needs improvement.
It’s a terrific ‘force multiplier’ for your business.
“Let’s find out what makes our potential customers tick”