Inbound Marketing – An introduction to grow your business

inbound marketing benefits

Is inbound marketing just a jargon?

Every year hot topics change: blockchain, machine learning, deep learning, AI, IOT, and inbound marketing are interesting topics discussing by many experts.  Since 2000s, digital technology plays vital role in human life and also in business operations.  Starting with Yahoo!, we saw many up and downs of firms, technology and way of engaging customers.  After social media emerged, marketing on such platforms becomes essential for almost every business industry.  Previously, people loved to read, watch, hear and feel everything on the internet.  Gradually, online contents are crowded, and audience chooses only relevant and useful ones.  Around 2010, marketers feel frustrated about return of advertisements.  Like Seth Godin wrote in his famous ‘Purple Cow’, nobody checks any contents unless they are remarkable.  You don’t need to paint your marketing contents purple color, but they need to stand out of the crowd.

Inbound marketing is one of the ways you can engage customers, deal sales and maintain profitable customer relationship online.  It is very useful for e-commerce store and news website according to my experiences.  Moreover, you can do inbound marketing with very cheap investment.  Brian Halligan, co-founder of Hubspot, a technology company which supports content management system and email-marketing, created the term ‘Inbound Marketing’.  It emphasizes business growth using inbound methodology: ‘attract’, ‘engage’ and ‘delight’.  Using Hubspot’s idea, I will brief this methodology below.

Inbound Marketing Methodology

In simplest definition, inbound marketing creates values for every step of buyer persona’s journey.  Moreover, all departments must collaborate to get maximum return from inbound marketing.

Attract – first step of inbound marketing

It is the first place in inbound marketing methodology.  This step draws the audience like a TV commercial or a catchy billboard, but tools and method are different to traditional advertisements.  Inbound marketers use customer-oriented contents like tips & tricks, how to posts and technical knowhows, rather than ostentatious product exhibitions or push ads. Firstly, the brand shows challenges of target audience, and how these challenges are disgusting, then the brand displays some tips to solve challenges. Therefore, prospects perceive the brand as their trusted advisor. The main objective is to increase number of qualified leads.

Engage – where deals are closed with high rate

At this stage, in-depth knowhows play important role to engage audience as a trusted advisor.  We draw out major pain points of target audience, demonstrate ways to alleviate them, and introduce relevant product or service of the brand.  The main point is to deal the audience with empathy.  Don’t sell, just solve their problems. Then you can convert qualified leads to sales.

Delight – customer retention is as much important as acquiring customers

Supporting customers after purchase is twice important than selling.  Delight stage emphasizes customer satisfaction and word of mouth.  Chatbots, surveys and real-time support are necessary to get customer loyalty.

Overall, inbound marketing methodology uses content marketing (blogging), SEO and social media marketing rather than expensive celebrities or high commercial budgets.  So, marketing ROI significantly increases with inbound marketing.  Furthermore, customer loyalty and word of mouth improve with the help of relevant and remarkable contents.  It is difficult to explain benefits of inbound marketing in one post, but we try our best to get impression from you.

Benefits of Inbound Marketing

The real benefit is its marketing ROI.

Website is the hub of inbound marketing.  It is a marketing channel, sales platform and operation hub.  That’s why Hubspot started its business by providing all in one solution platform for inbound marketing.  You can use WordPress or Drupal which are also good content management system (CMS) for inbound marketing.  However, you need to combine CMS with some essential software like Mailchimp (Email Marketing), Yoast (SEO), Google Analytics (Marketing Analytics) and Salesforce (CRM).

Then you need to develop Buyer Personas (you can read 5 tips for Facebook Marketing).  According to Peter Drucker, “customer orientation” and “market segmentation” are the most essential in his marketing concept, but they are difficult to develop.  Buyer Personas solve these challenges.  Each persona has his or her own attributes like gender, age, occupation, challenge, daily habit, hobby, career life and also number of pets.  Assiduous segmentation can help to understand insights of target audience.  You can also develop a persona for each of your current customers.

Content Mapping is another interesting step in inbound marketing journey.  Some experts state content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing because they saw content mapping directly relate with content marketing.  We will discuss this in next post (content marketing vs inbound marketing), but we will focus inbound marketing here.  After getting buyer personas for your brand, you can draw mapping based on personas and contents.  For example, your persona who is a banker, will be happy to read market analysis, if you are a data scientist.  You can attract a celebrity with fashion tips if you are a fashion designer.  Contents can be a blog post, a long article, an infographic, a downloadable e-book or white paper, a Youtube video or a podcast.  Step by step engine overhauling infographic on your car service website can amaze car owners, a video about easy installation of your generators can excite your prospects, and a testimonial of your software can instigate purchase decision of your audience.  Free webinars and online training course are also good places to convert audience to customer.  But you can’t do offline contents like newspaper article, billboard, street ads or seminar in road shows.  All contents must be monitored from your website.

Marketing automation play the final stage to delight customers after purchase.  You can do up selling or cross selling in this stage.  But all are done with your website.  If your customer want face to face relationship, you can do, but mostly inbound marketing activities are automated and online.  That reduces manpower and overhead cost for your business.

You can start inbound marketing with less than $100 while you need a significant marketing budget to execute other marketing activities like TV commercials or billboards.  Here is an example for a market. Furthermore, you can detect how successful your marketing activity is because steps are connected to website.  Fast and concise marketing analytics help you to understand your customers, your industry and the future of market.

Anyway, high marketing ROI help you to get more profit with less budget, and it helps you run a sustainable business growth.

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