Outbound marketing techniques are annoying! They interrupt your TV show, fill up your inbox with information you're not interested in, take valuable space in your favourite magazine and intrude when you're listening to the radio. Many brands are embracing inbound marketing instead, a process that draws in potential customers instead of pushing unsolicited promotions. This long-term strategy focuses on creating valuable content that answers consumer questions and solves their problems, resulting in lead generation, customer acquisition and client engagement. Inbound marketing is transforming the way business is conducted.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is an advertising technique that attracts, converts, closes and delights customers by creating valuable content and experiences that tailor to the customer's needs and wants. It assists potential buyers in finding your company by forming connections they're looking for and solving problems they have. Inbound marketing methodology utilizes content marketing, blogs, events, search engine optimization and social media to make a company visible, drawing clients toward the business, building awareness, developing relationships and generating leads.
Inbound marketing: owned and earned media
Inbound marketing is about earning attention and using owned and earned media to engage potential customers in creative ways.
- Owned media are channels that a business has control over (website, blog, brand social media profiles, product landing pages, YouTube channel). A company chooses what, how and when to publish.
- Earned media is the coverage you earn as a result of an inbound marketing campaign (coverage in traditional newspapers/magazines, references in online news sites, mentions on social media, conversations about your product/service in online forums, and online reviews).
What techniques are used in an inbound marketing campaign?
Inbound marketing techniques grow an organization by building meaningful/lasting relationships with consumers, prospects and customers. It involves valuing and empowering people to reach their goals at all stages of their journey with your company. This methodology is applied in three steps:
- Attract: Draw in the right people with valuable content and conversations that establish your company as a trusted advisor with whom they wish to engage. This is done through the creation of blog articles, content offerings, video posts and social media. It includes guides on how to use your products, information about how to solve challenges, customer testimonials, promotions and/or discounts. It involves optimizing content with an SEO strategy (specific keywords and phrases related to your products/services, the challenges you solve and the ways you help your target audience).
- Engage: Present insights and solutions that align with your target audience's pain points and goals so they're more likely to buy from you. Use conversion tools (CTAs, forms, lead flows) to capture information regarding prospects. Communicate with leads/customers in a way that builds long-term relationships and provides information about the value your business offers them. Personalize your website experience using smart content. Focus on how customer service representatives handle calls/emails and provide solutions. Ensure deals end in mutually beneficial agreements. Create brand loyalty by targeting specific audiences with your social content or ads.
- Delight: Provide help and support to empower your customers to find success with their purchases. Train team members to become advisors and experts, assisting customers at any point in their journey. Use chatbots and surveys to assist/support. Request feedback from customers. Respond to social media interactions that provide feedback, ask questions or share experiences with your products/services. Handle all interactions with care as a delighted customer becomes a brand advocate and promoter.
How does inbound marketing work?
With an inbound marketing campaign, a prospect scrolls through social media (Instagram, Facebook, TicToc, etc.) encountering a headline, content, comments and/or a video that informs them of your brand. They follow the content to your website and access a blog or video to learn more. They may interact with your virtual assistant or chatbot to gain answers to their questions. They may sign up for a newsletter or add their name to your email list to receive new product announcements and/or event invitations. Finally, they make a purchase. If satisfied with their purchase, they may leave an online review and/or mention your brand on their social media sites, ensuring other potential buyers learn about your products/services. Next time this customer needs goods/services they'll likely return to your brand as they received engaging information, answers to all their questions and all their needs/wants were met.
What are the benefits of inbound marketing?
- Reduced expenses: Inbound marketing allows for a focused, leaner advertising spend. Inbound leads cost 62% less, on average, than outbound leads and inbound marketing tactics generate 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing methods. Instead of distributing what you have to offer in places where your target audience might be, inbound marketing strategically creates high-quality content that brings the audience to you. It allows you to know more about your potential customers, serving them better. You spend marketing resources on people who actually want and/or need your products/services.
- Increased trust and credibility: Inbound marketing techniques provide helpful content for your target audience. This is crucial as 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. You can use your content to create a relationship, contributing to trust and credibility and setting the stage for acquiring customers.
- Quality traffic/leads: Producing content focused on the needs and problems of your target audience attracts traffic that's interested in your products/services/solutions. Leads generated by organic searches have a 14.6% conversion rate, while outbound leads (direct mail, print advertising) have a 1.7% conversion rate. Inbound leads are more likely to leave positive reviews and since 49% of shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as in-person recommendations, positive reviews lead to more customers.
- Simplified sales and marketing work: Inbound marketing provides information about what customers need/want in the different stages of the buyer's journey. Highly segmented content is generated to educate, answer questions and solve problems. This content attracts visitors, increases conversions, nurtures leads, sells and retains existing customers. It's easily managed and implemented with a single platform through which you streamline all inbound marketing functions (social media, email, customer relationship management, content management system, search engine optimization, and website development).
- Increased brand visibility: The production of content relevant to a buyer's journey allows potential customers to find information about your products/services during their online research. If the content is compelling and informative, readers share it on social media, increasing your visibility and solidifying your reputation as a credible resource.
- Sustainability: Outbound marketing campaigns last a specific duration. Content created for the internet does not expire, remaining available for those looking for information. This means inbound marketing campaigns last forever. You can continue to create high-quality content and optimize the content you've already shared to constantly raise awareness about your brand.
- Saves time: The internal functions of an inbound marketing strategy can be automated to promote efficiency and alignment of teams and team members. Automation eases communication and the creation and sharing of content. Teams access everything from a centralized location, saving time and allowing them to focus on building relationships and closing deals.
Stop pushing promotional messages at consumers in hope of finding leads. Let leads find you with inbound marketing campaigns. Focus on building long-lasting relationships and a positive brand reputation. Engage with your target audience in ways that boost awareness, create an understanding of your customers' preferences and create loyal brand advocates. Turn strangers into clients and promoters of your brand! Use inbound marketing to accelerate the growth of your business.
Interested in inbound marketing techniques for your business? Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Call CAYK at (403) 456-0072 or email CARE@CAYK.CA. Allow us to be your very own marketing department! Connect with our tightly-knit team of knowledgeable digital-first consultants, each eager to help your business grow. If you want the best digital marketing team in your corner, Contact us today. We'll help you take your business to the next level.