When was the last time you paid attention to a TV commercial? Or tuned in to a shopping channel? You probably haven’t turned on your TV in a while and have stuck to late nights with Netflix.
Isn’t it convenient to have the content you need when you want it? No waiting, less searching. It’s precisely the same for the advertising world today. Gone are the days of giant billboards you drive by; now, you see ads based on what you type, watch, and save on your device.
As a shopper, there hasn’t been a more convenient way to purchase online. As a seller, there’s magic in letting your customers find you (and not the other way around). This is what we call inbound marketing, and here’s why it works.
First things first, what is inbound marketing?
What’s inbound marketing? It’s what you use when you want to attract customers through content interactions that are relevant and helpful but not interruptive. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, social media, or email.
Inbound marketing is a simple concept: it’s the process of “bringing” customers to your business. Traditional marketing concepts involve investing in ads, cold emailing or calling, and reaching out to potential customers. Inbound marketing methodology, however, is quite the opposite—it’s converting visitors into buyers with relevant content delivered at the right time.
A quick comparison: Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Let’s take a look at the difference between inbound and outbound digital marketing.
Inbound is based on buying consensus, where outbound requires convincing.
Outbound marketing is a one-way street. It’s like throwing flyers for your business into the wind, hoping that some of them will land on potential customers and provide some sort of value. But here’s the thing: most of those flyers won’t work, because they’ll get blown away and get stuck to objects in their path (like trees), or because people simply aren’t interested enough to pay attention.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is a two-way street. It involves making yourself easy to find online and talking with your audience when they find you. There’s a bigger chance to convert because the intent was there in the first place, saving loads of money that would otherwise go toward ineffective advertising campaigns (like flyers).
What’s the catch with outbound marketing?
Inbound and outbound content marketing work best when integrated together. But with the growing popularity of inbound marketing, it begs the question: Is outbound marketing dead? The answer is no, but it’s getting less effective on its own.
Today’s consumer hates distractions. On average, about 10,000 advertisements pop up on a person’s screen daily. These are cold marketing emails, calls, and notifications. People now have access to more creative ways to block out these exhausting ads, such as ad blocker browser extensions, spam filtering, and more, so the chances of reaching a lead with these have already significantly decreased over previous times.
Customers today are also digital-first and independent with their buying decisions. If they need to make a purchase, they typically don’t have their mind set on a specific product or brand. Instead, they’ll do a quick search, read reviews and articles, and repeat the process until they’re ready to purchase. Most of all, they’d want to discover these products themselves.
Before the digital takeover, people only saw ads based on what companies wanted them to see—TV commercials, billboards, merchandising. Now, people decide what type of content to consume and when to consume it.
The four stages of inbound marketing
Like any method, inbound marketing has four stages: attract, convert, close, and delight. Each is crucial to attracting your ideal customer.
Attract – Get them to know you
Awareness is the first step to an inbound marketing strategy. Let people know about your products and services through valuable content on social media or other relevant platforms. You could share your customer reviews, unique selling points, and even your price point. It may sound counterintuitive to share this information for all to see, but it will have a substantial positive impact on your credibility.
Beyond business-specific content, you could also publish value-adding materials that contribute to industry discussions. Answer common questions, share facts, or talk about current trends in the market.
This is also where digital marketing data comes in—your content should be backed by effective keywords, right timing, convincing topics, and historical performance. It’s no guessing game, and the more you know about their behaviour online, the more likely your content will reach the right audience.
The crucial part of this stage is knowing your buyer persona. Your content, platforms of choice, and tonality should be targeted for people who are already likely interested in your product. Leave out those who aren’t—that’s for outbound marketing to handle because it reaches a broader audience.
Convert – Get them to like you
When you have your potential clients on your page, your next step is to convert them into inbound leads. You’ll want to do this through on-page content that will nudge them to keep exploring.
This is also the best stage to collect their contact information, so you can reach out and turn them into actual buyers. The best way to get these valuable details is to offer something worthwhile in return—a free downloadable resource, a 7-day trial, or even a no-commitment discovery call. Opt-ins must be tailored specifically for your potential customer, otherwise, it won’t be as attractive enough for them to give details.
At this stage, they’re asking, “Why is your business worth my time and money?”
Close – Get them to purchase from you
You could have a thousand leads, but not all those will matter. The ones worth celebrating are those who turn into paying customers.
Now you know how to reach them. What’s next? When you have qualified leads, it’s all about strengthening your brand reputation with nurturing content that speaks to them on a more personal level. Tap them again with newsletters, notifications, or other mediums that would hook them to open and finally decide to check out. It typically takes seeing a product or service ad 7 to 8 times before a person pushes through with their purchase. So be patient, and keep creating content.
Delight – Get them to talk about you
Word-of-mouth is as strong as ever. When you have customers sharing reviews about your product, it directly impacts the number of leads you can get.
The last stage of inbound marketing is delighting your customers by staying in touch with them. Ask them how they feel about your product or service, send them updates, curated recommendations, and exciting discounts. Make them feel valued, and they’ll provide your business with value back.
It pays to look at (more) data
Inbound marketing is as much of a numbers game as it is a content game. Here’s why analytics play an important role in maximising inbound marketing ROI.
- Data tells you what works and what doesn’t. You can optimise your marketing campaigns with analytics to focus on the most effective strategies that bring in the most leads. Analytics also give you insights into which areas of your strategy aren’t as effective—information that’s just as important if you want to reach the right people. For example, you could verify if your landing page brings you the expected number of visitors. If it isn’t, you have the opportunity to enhance your website instead of burning money on pages that don’t perform.
- Data informs you of what your competitors are doing well. Which of their social media efforts is gaining traction? Which keywords on their website are bringing them traffic? What content is published on pages that have a high visitor rate? Analytics will allow you to rank yourself against industry competitors and inform you of where you should allocate your resources based on competitive insights.
- Data allows you to think outside the box. You’ll be surprised at how unrelated keywords could be a big driver of visitors to your website. Sometimes, consumer behaviour isn’t always easily predicted—and you could be losing out on new leads by sticking to what is obvious. Analytics gives you business opportunities that you could leverage for your content. For example, your customers could be searching for an unusual keyword at a certain time of the year. One of Bring Performance’s valued clients runs an events place catered for weddings, parties, and corporate events. During the research phase, data showed that the keyword ugg boots trends in search engines for weddings in the winter season. Who would have thought? Information like this will aid you in planning your campaigns and content when it’s most relevant.
Digital companies like Bring Performance dig deep into these types of data to create valuable, actionable insights for inbound marketing campaigns. Book a quick discovery call and we’d love to help you identify opportunities to bring your business more qualified leads.
Content marketing and inbound marketing work hand-in-hand
While content and inbound marketing are two different terms, they work hand-in-hand to create a strong campaign for lead generation.
Under the inbound marketing umbrella, content is king. It’s the foundation of a good strategy. The variety of tactics involved—email marketing, social media promotion, and more—all have content as its centre.
Without content, you lose the value that draws in potential buyers. It would be nearly impossible to nurture them across the buyer journey. Think of content as the first step to bringing in the right leads, so the rest of your inbound marketing methodology can take place smoothly after.
Let Bring Performance do it for you
Inbound and content marketing are fun to do on your own, but even more so with the help of an industry expert. If you’re looking for a data-first partner for your strategy, Bring Performance can get insights into the market and consumer needs, while informing you of the right content to publish.
Get in touch and let’s explore.