What is Inbound Marketing?
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Inbound Marketing plays an indispensable role for the success of companies, whether they are multinational corporations or SMEs. Higher revenues, higher profit margins, and growth in general, simply cannot be generated without Inbound Marketing.
It is the process of building relationships with prospects and customers. Marketing is a medium by which businesses create customer interest in their products or services. It is an umbrella term that covers branding, PR, advertising, direct response, promotions through multiple channels, customer loyalty etc.
In other words, the main purpose of Marketing as a whole is to draw consumers in and make them aware of a product, service or a brand’s name. Through marketing, customers get to know the value of a company’s products or services and how they can be useful to them.
For a long period of time, Marketing relied on an array of traditional methods: Print advertising through magazines, newspapers, billboards, brochures, Direct Sales through cold-calling and face-to-mace meetings, alongside Radio and Television Marketing.
With the rise of the Internet and the Digital Era, however, many businesses and entrepreneurs are vying for a new Marketing solution. This is where the concept of INBOUND MARKETING comes in.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a strategy based on attracting your prospective customers, by accompanying them in the entire process from the time they first come into contact with the brand, until they become paying customers.
The most important aspect of the Inbound Marketing Strategy consists in employing non-invasive techniques. It is about the client coming to contact the company, instead of the latter disrupting the former’s daily life with aggressive advertising methods.
Stages of Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a multi-layered process in which the prospect is converted to a lead, who is then turned into a paying customer.
There are four Inbound Marketing stages in total in order for this process to come to fruition.
The first step consist in attracting users to a certain brand. The main goal is to generate awareness and bring quality users who match a business’ client profile.
In order to achieve said goal, a business can rely on a variety of methods, for instance:
As the old adage goes: Content is King! It is a strategic approach that is at the heart of Inbound Marketing. It relies on creating and distributing valuable content to the right customer prospects, on a consistent basis. Instead of outright pitching products and services, businesses can provide useful content to the prospects so they can address their purchasing problems.
This targeted type of approach lies in using social media platforms by businesses in order to spread awareness, create shareable content and advertorials. Simply put, platforms must be used as diffusion channels in order for the content to reach users and cultivate their feedback.
Search Engine Optimization, is a method used to generate increased traffic to a business’ website by increasing the latter’s rank on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Take VerveVideos.com, an explainer video company. The higher their rank, the more the business is perceived as a reliable expert by the prospect, in terms of meeting their needs and expectations.
At this stage, the business has been able to create awareness and is aiming to convert visitors into leads and is aiming to obtain their contact information, thus generating engagement.
Simply put, the main objective is to provide prospects with more relevant content in exchange for leaving their data.
Different methods can be relied on to during the engagement stage:
Forms are a good and easy option for lead generation. A business can offer immediate value upon submitting to encourage customers filling the forms.
A strategy that consists in offering discounts on the prospect’s first order in exchange for their email address. This enables companies to gather data about customers very early on in the buyer’s journey, which allows businesses to interact with them in a meaningful and more targeted way.
This stage is where the sale process occurs. What matters most at this stage is the number of leads that will turn into actual paying customers. A business must stand out from its competitors, which will lead prospects to make a definitive purchasing decision.
Several methods can be used at this stage in terms of pushing the envelope:
A time-efficient strategy that leads a customer to opt for the company that offers it. The time it takes for a product to arrive takes less time, thus addressing the customer’s need in a timelier fashion.
It is the guarantee that the money a lead spend on a product if it does not answer his problem. This cements the credibility of the business that offers it and builds more trust with the prospect.
This is the post-sales stage. It is extremely important for any business to further engage with existing customers and solidify brand loyalty.
When it comes to further delighting customers, several strategies can be employed, such as:
Following up with customers post-purchase can take many forms. For example, asking them to post an honest and credible review about a product or a service. The company can also recommend complementary products that are relevant to the primary product that was bought, hence the process of upselling a product.
Using social media platforms to further engage with customers and provide them with on-the-spot customer service is also important at this stage. It builds further trust with customers and reinforces a company’s image as a reliable and caring one.
In conclusion, when it comes to Inbound Marketing, businesses do not need to fight for their customers’ attention and shove products down their throats. The Inbound Marketing methodology educates, engages, and delights the customers in an organic manner that is inclusive, and not disruptive. In other words, companies show customers that they genuinely care about them, and are not only interested in meeting sales quotas.