This article discusses the fundamentals of inbound marketing, its methodologies, strategies, and benefits to your business.
Table of Contents
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing technique that boosts online presence and brand awareness using consumer-centered strategies such as creating valuable content and experiences tailor-made for the customers.
Unlike outbound marketing that targets the general audience, inbound marketing doesn’t interrupt your target customers with content that doesn’t solve their pain points nor reflect their values and lifestyle.
In essence, inbound marketing techniques create genuine human connections by providing valuable content to the right audience, at the right time, and in the right place.
Outbound vs. Inbound: How is Inbound Marketing Different?
The traditional way of marketing, or outbound, uses TV commercials, radio ads, print ads, cold calls, cold emails, and other marketing media that are marketer- and product-centric. The main goal is to release highly generalized content to the public, expecting that some of the “receivers” would be interested.
However, the problem with outbound marketing is that most people pay little to no attention to the content that has nothing to do with their values, lifestyle, and situation. According to a recent report released by Hubspot, 91% of people unsubscribe to business emails, 86% skip television ads, and around 200 million are on the “Do Not Call list.” Simply put, people don’t like to be interrupted by irrelevant information.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the inbound marketing that is hyper-focused on the customers, their needs, their problems, their goals, and most importantly, how your product or service can solve their problem.
By providing “free” and valuable content that gives them the answer or solution, they are most likely receptive to your “message,” i.e., subtle marketing.
However, you may be wondering, “how does inbound marketing work exactly?”
Despite the “tangible” effectiveness of inbound marketing, especially in growing loyal customer base and sales, not all businesses are quick to adapt to this relatively new concept that is believed to be the inadvertent by-product of the Internet.
With the advent of the Internet, people have more freedom regarding the content they want to consume. Also, they can block intrusive adverts, unfollow influencers, and filter out unwanted messages.
The Principles of Inbound Methodology
The inbound methodology is all about growing your business by building meaningful and lasting relationships with your target audience and current customers. Furthermore, it aims to empower your audience by giving them information to help them make an informed decision.
By helping your customers find solutions through free content, you create this top of mind awareness (TOMA) for your brand.
With TOMA, your brand is the first thing that comes to mind when customers think about a particular product or service.
Three Phases of Inbound Marketing
The Flywheel Model
When your customers find “happiness” with your products and services, you can turn them into promoters and influencers who can help you grow your loyal customer base. Just like a flywheel that spins faster as it receives more energy, this is how a customer-focused marketing approach does to our business.
The flywheel model illustrates the energy your business can gain by providing excellent customer experience. You can build momentum on your flywheel by investing in strategies that acquire and retain clients.
On the flip side, “friction” slows down your flywheel.
Friction comes in the form of poor internal processes, lack of communication between teams, or misalignment between your employees and the customers. Addressing these issues is critical to keep your flywheel spinning.
A flywheel based on the inbound methodology allows your marketing, sales, and service functions to work together and reduce friction throughout all the phases of the inbound methodology. Nevertheless, all the other departments should also do their part to achieve this goal.
The goal of the flywheel model is to attain and maintain enough customers that can keep your flywheel spinning through positive word-of-mouth marketing. Once your flywheel gets enough momentum, you won’t have to invest too much in paid ads.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
There are specific strategies for each inbound methodology of attracting, engaging, and delighting customers that will help you keep your flywheel spinning.
Attracting your target audience through inbound marketing relies on quality content creation and development. Thus, creating and publishing content is your first step towards reaching your audience.
Your content may include blog articles, podcasts, video tutorials, infographics, and social media posts.
For instance, you can create blogs that can guide your customers on using your products or solving a particular problem through your services. In addition, you can share relevant news about your industry, and post customer testimonials and details about promos and discounts.
But before publishing any content, make sure that you optimize them through SEO. It requires the use of keywords and phrases related to your business and your customers’ pain points. With this technique, your content will rank on top of Google and other popular search engine tools.
The engaging strategies require interacting with your target audience at their preferred timeline and platform. The goal is to make the buying experience convenient and quick.
In the engagement phase, you prioritize building long-term relationships over closing deals. Using engagement strategies, you provide information about the value of your product.
An example of an engagement strategy is how you handle inbound sales calls.
Your customer representatives must be trained on how to handle calls from your potential clients specifically. Even if they already show interest in your product, make sure you sell a solution instead of a product per se. In this way, the customers will feel that you are genuinely concerned about helping them solve their pain points.
Delighting inbound strategies focus on helping, supporting, and empowering your customers to reach their goals and become happy with their purchase. With these techniques, your clients will be satisfied with the level of involvement and assistance your team provides.
Delighting strategies include using relevant, well-timed chatbots and surveys that assist, support, and ask for feedback from your customers. However, you must share these tools at specific points throughout the buyer’s journey.
For example, you can use chatbots to inform your customers about your new product that they may like to try. You can also send a satisfaction survey a few months after they have purchased your product or service to receive feedback and identify areas that may need improvement.
Social media is another powerful tool you can utilize to delight your customers. They may use social media to give reviews, ask questions, or share their experiences with your business. Responding to these posts lets your clients know that you acknowledge and respect their input.
Also, make sure that you give helpful information to those who are asking questions. Thank those who have posted positive reviews, and apologize to those who give negative feedback.
Furthermore, your business should always be ready to assist and support your customers in any situation. Remember that a satisfied customer becomes your brand’s advocate and promoter who can add momentum to your flywheel.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
It simplifies sales and marketing. Inbound marketing allows your sales and marketing teams to work together and create valuable content for your target.
The sales team provides the key insights on what customers want and need during the different stages of their buying journey. In contrast, the marketing team uses the said information to create a highly targeted content to the customers. With these two departments working simultaneously, you can increase your conversion rate and retain customers.
It promotes visibility and brand awareness. With the advent of the Internet, local businesses and solo entrepreneurs can now reach a wider audience provided that they adhere to the principles of inbound marketing.
With a customer-focused marketing approach, you only produce content aligned with the buyer’s demographic and journey. This allows your target customers to find your brand while doing their own search. And if they find the “message” valuable, they may even share it with their online cliques.
It educates your prospects. According to a study released by Oberlo, 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. This means that you can reach them by providing valuable information through different platforms.
Take note that it is critical to identify where your prospects conduct their research, so you can distribute your content to people who are receptive to the “message.”
By educating your target customers, you can become a trusted authority in your industry.
It increases consumer trust and credibility. Most consumers find outbound marketing interrupting as they want to consume information on their own time and preferred platform.
With inbound marketing, you prioritize your buyer’s terms and convenience. Instead of coming out as interruptive, they’ll appreciate the more targeted and relevant content. Simply put, you can reach your target audience in a less direct but more effective way thanks to the “subtle” art of selling.
It generates quality traffic and leads. Inbound marketing allows you to generate more sales by building relationships with your prospects.
The valuable content you publish will reach your target audience and drive quality traffic to your website.
LOJO's: Ardent Proponent of Inbound Marketing Technique
At LOJO, we utilize the inbound marketing approach to help our clients develop and implement their marketing strategies.
It’s no secret that marketing has evolved throughout the years due to the influence of social media, the changing consumer sentiment and behavior.
Although the core principles of marketing remain the same, the new styles and techniques will enable businesses to connect with their audience better.
By signing up for LOJO’s full-service digital marketing plans, you can focus on the core operations of your business and access a pool of talents with niche skills in digital marketing and content creation.
To know more about our digital marketing plans, you can visit this link.