Tips To Help You Benefit From Inbound Marketing
Today’s marketing, inbound marketing, is all about telling stories, solving problems and building trust.get in touch
Today’s Marketing is Inbound Marketing
It’s an ever-changing world, the way we learn, receive information, communicate and make decisions has changed.
As marketers, we often seek to repeat the old-fashioned tricks of the trade, but they don’t bring us business success anymore.
Invasive ads and phone calls have proven to be less and less effective.
Nowadays – the customer determines the rules as they have the final choice of where, how and when they are ready to be approached.
Today’s marketing, inbound marketing, is all about telling stories, solving problems and building trust.
It is a very customer-focused approach, where we, as marketers need to ensure that we are providing relevant and valuable content to each customer at the right time, via the right channels.
What is Inbound Marketing and Why Should You Apply it to Your Business?
Hubspot has come up with an easy example to highlight the difference between the marketing of the old days and inbound marketing.
The Old Way:
We are all familiar with the term “funnel” in marketing.
It is broader on the top and narrows at the bottom and it demonstrates the buyer’s journey from prospects to actual buyers.
At the top of the funnel, there are a lot of potential clients – your target market, but as they progress through it more and more get filtered out, with only a percentage of the original amount remaining as customers.
The Inbound Way:
In the Inbound marketing methodology, we are dealing with a “flywheel” rather than a funnel.
Flywheel – a machine that stores rotational energy.
The flywheel represents your company as a whole, but you’ll still have funnel-shaped charts and graphs representing the effectiveness of different processes within your company.
To compare it to the old model, instead of your customers coming out of the bottom end of the funnel and disappearing, they now become promoters of your business and spread the word, generating new traffic to move to the top of the funnel. This pattern then repeats over and over as a flywheel – a machine that stores rotational energy!!
It is much more efficient to build an automated self-sustaining process of getting new traction for your business success, rather than having to constantly search for new customers.
Where to start with applying the Inbound marketing strategy to your business?
It is by no means a small task to update or create your whole marketing strategy.
Below is the Inbound methodology in a nutshell – we have broken it into smaller parts, so you can go through it one piece at a time.
The main goal in nowadays marketing is to build trust!
The stages – ATTRACT – ENGAGE – DELIGHT and brand awareness.
SMART Goals for your business success
Your target Market contacts and gathering your data.
Buyer Personas and understanding their problems.
Stages of buyers journey and segmenting your database accordingly.
Who is your target market and what are their preferred ways of communication?
Creating the Conversion path, a path to business success.
Incorporating Social media to your Inbound Marketing.
Analyse, test and tweak
Inbound Marketing is an ongoing process
The main goal in nowadays marketing is to build trust!
Think about it – what would inspire you to tell your friend about a company?
What is the key element that makes the flywheel keep spinning?
It is all about human interactions and making your target customers feel loved and understood.
You need to really help your target market solve their problem as quickly and easily as possible, and be there for them each and every time.
This is a big part of the “Delight” part of the strategy, which over time, will build trust.
If the customer has a great experience, each and every time, – they are more likely to become a promoter for your business and tell their friends about the experience they had. Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising because it builds organic traffic by driving more visitors to your website and therefore increases brand awareness and great content.
Your company’s Mission
For every company, there should be a clear mission. A reason why this company was created in the first place.
This is so simple, yet often gets lost amongst other aspects of building a successful business.
Your mission should address some kind of problem or lack in the world. And when talkign about brand awareness, this should reflect on your brand clearly.
For example, A printing company’s mission should extend beyond making just enough income to keep growing and keep the owners comfortable.
A more effective mission for such a company might be to provide efficient and flexible solutions for printing while leading the way to more eco-friendly ways of printing. Showing the way to do it sustainably, using recycled materials, eco-friendly inks and educating the community about it.
Think about your company’s mission and how you can add value to the world. Adding value to the world is what will also bring you more and more business success.
Every company mission needs to have supporting company goals and values. Keeping your goals aligned with your mission and addressing these issues will help you become a thought leader in the industry that people will be drawn towards, seeking your advice and expertise. There is no point setting goals if they aren’t achievable though, so ensure you can actually achieve your goals too.
Being open about your mission will also play a part in the previous topic – building trust!
The stages - ATTRACT - ENGAGE - DELIGHT
The process has been divided into three main stages from your company’s point of view.
The Attract stage: you need to focus on making sure you have enough generic content about the problem your company is solving. This is also increasing the brand awareness for your company. This way you are a valuable source of information to the people who have just realized they have a problem to solve, and are searching for possible solutions. These people are currently in the awareness stage of their customer journey. And by providing helpful content, they will also become aware of your brand!
Helpful content is contextual content, meaning that it relates directly to the question being asked, the outcome being sought, or an aspirational goal. Providing these kinds of answers presents you as a thought leader in the area.
It is vital – especially in this stage, that good SEO practices are applied so that your content meets the standards of different search engine algorithms and shows up in the search results.
Perhaps it is a good idea to do a website audit? A website audit is a very helpful step to take to ensure you have a solid foundation for business success.
The Engage Stage you have determined that the prospects are now considering your business as an option to help them solve their problem. They have taken the desired action. They are your target market. This is the time for you to engage via your chosen communication platform; chatbot, direct messaging, e-mail, etc.
In this stage, you begin to collect information about the individual you’re working with.
Answer their questions, provide solutions, offer insight, become a resource.
The prospect is now in the decision stage of their buyer’s journey.
The delight Stage revolves around providing an outstanding experience.
You will need to create a system or strategy to help delight your prospect so that they will become your promoters.
Make it as easy as humanly possible for people to find the answers they need and ensure that you understand what motivates them.
Setting SMART Goals for Business Success.
Great dreams aren’t just visions, they’re visions coupled with strategies for making them real.
To be successful in your mission, you will need to think about your visions, your goals, and plan out a route to get there.
In the Inbound methodology, we have SMART goals.
Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Timely –
As a generic rule, every goal you set, should be a SMART goal.
So think of your objectives and make sure each of them is :
Specific enough, – to create an action plan for it
Has a clear endpoint or a milestone, so you can measure your success.
Is realistically achievable with the tools, skillset and budget at your disposal.
Will align with the bigger purpose of your company’s mission, therefore is relevant to your ongoing success.
Contacts, and building your database.
Nowadays when you go to a website for the first time or want to download an offer, there is almost always an exchange happening – it is usually a request for your email address.
These websites are gathering data on their target market – and so should you!
Data is knowledge, and knowledge is a way to business success.
You should want to collect as much data of your visitors as possible, without making them feel like they are being interrogated. Very gently, one detail at a time, over the different stages of their buyer’s journey, you can collect more and more information to finally reveal who your client actually is.
This will help you determine where and how to reach out to them, and what kind of content they find relevant/appealing.
The thing about data is that it keeps expiring from the moment you get it, so you’d also want to make sure to keep it up to date.
A really nice way to do that is by a data cleanse campaign – which allows you to reach out to your contacts in a personalised way, show them relevant content and to ask them to update their data, and even provide some extra information if they should choose to do so.
Buyer Personas and understanding their problems.
Before you can initiate any relationship, you need to understand who you’re trying to connect with. Establish a target audience and target market.
In the Inbound Marketing business model, we have the term “Buyer Persona”
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer based on data, interviews, and some educated guesses.
You can download some templates online to begin drafting out your buyer personas.
To develop a buyer persona, take your entire target market and segment it into different categories based on varying data such as age, sex, demographics, job title etc.
The importance of a buyer personas and segmenting your audience is because there’s a difference between how a 50-year-old CEO thinks, versus how a 25-year-old Account Manager thinks and the kinds of problems they need to solve.
This type of research into your clientele will reveal a lot about who you are actually dealing with, and how you can make your content more relevant to your specific personas.
Understanding who you’re talking to allows you to enhance their online and buying experience in a human, helpful, and holistic way.
It is important to involve the whole company in creating your personas, as the sales team might have different knowledge of your client, then, for example, a marketer or a designer.
Understanding the different stages of the buyer's journey.
Now that you have your personas figured out, you want to walk in their shoes for a while, do determine all the touchpoints.
Each individual experiences a different journey, from when they first discover the need for something (product or service) to committing and making a decision. Each journey has three main sections:
Awareness Stage – This is where the person first realises they have a need or wish for something – for example, they realise that they would like to take their hobby – yoga to the next level and learn to become a yoga teacher to make a career out of it.
In this stage, they would make quite generic search queries like – how to become a yoga teacher? They would search for questions like; how much does a yoga teacher earn and how much does it cost to become certified?
If your Yoga school business has covered the bases from the “Attract stage” – they will find the answer from your online content, which will also lead them to you.
Consideration Stage – Here the person has done a fair amount of research and probably has a few different companies in mind. To progress in decision-making processes they will start comparing costs, value, overall experience, location timetable match, etc. This is where the “Engage stage” will begin for you.
Decision Stage – By now they are strongly leaning towards one of the options, and their final commitment is not far off.
As an Inbound marketer, you want to make sure you are providing the right content at the right time,
that you have resources and information available for your personas in all their different buyer’s journey stages.
Go through the actions your visitors take in trying to solve their problem. Map out your buyer’s journey – this way it becomes clear where you have some gaps to fill.
Make sure your database is segmented, based on where they are in their journey, to ensure you are sending only the relevant content marketing strategies such as e-mail marketing.
There are a lot of great CRM’s out there (Customer Relations Management platforms) to help with the segmentation and communication to your database.
Read more in our Buyer’s Journey Blog Post.
Creating the Conversion path
Now you put your buyer’s journey under a magnifying glass. Identity and inspect all the touch-points, data and results.
The goal here is to guide the visitor towards taking a series of desired actions, until reaching the end goal of being your customer and promoter.
Think of conversion data as a way to incrementally check in on the health of your strategy, it will also help you to start thinking outside the box.
Look at the data,
How many people viewed the offer you are advertising and Is it placed in the best optimal location on your website? – Is it achieving the brand success you were planning for?
How many clicked on the button? – Are there too many distractions and other buttons around the actual relevant content?
How many actually went through with the purchase and what can you do to increase the conversion rate?
As a bonus you can learn how to combine your conversion path with a DataCleanse and hit two birds with one stone.
Where is your target market and what are their communication channels of choice?
This is where your buyer persona research comes in. You will need to analyse the data of your personas and determine, which platforms are the best to use for them, but also for your team. Making choices that reflect the data analysis will help to increase traffic and content strategies enabling you to target the right audience at the right time.
For example – statistics show that younger people are much more active on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat versus the previous generation, who still very much prefers Facebook, and the generation before them is still favouring the good old email.
So there is not much gain in advertising a product for the older folks on Instagram or trying to message them on Facebook.
To help streamline your business processes when gathering information, ask your audience/client where and how they prefer to communicate with you.
Add this as one of the key points of information that you will need to gather about your buyer persona.
Incorporating Social media into your Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Social Media is one of the best tools for Inbound marketing.
Once you have determined where your audience is, you can choose the best social media platforms for you to incorporate into your strategy helping to drive more traffic. They are each similar and different in their own way.
- Facebook is great for advertising to individuals aged 25 – 45.
- Twitter is for people with opinions!
- Instagram – is the best place to display visually stunning content and approach the younger generation.
- LinkedIn – is the absolute best place for professional connections and advertising for B2B clients.
- Youtube – video is the king nowadays, so if you can create video content, you should definitely consider it.
Learn more about each channel via the links below:
Overall – social media is a very useful tool to:
- Help you expand on your other marketing efforts
- Help build brand awareness
- Drive word of mouth
- Attract buyers via social media marketing and ads.
- Drive traffic to your website and create market segments
- And help calculate ROI (return on investment) as you can’t track all marketing communications such as print ads or direct mail campaigns.
Statistics say that around 70% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
As always – use SMART goals when planning out your social media strategy.
Social media is a huge topic, which you can learn more about here.
Analyse, test and tweak - It is an ongoing process
Setting Inbound marketing strategies is a long, ongoing process. So don’t expect it to ever be “finished”
As I said at the very beginning of this article – it is an ever-changing world – and you need to make that sure you are changing with it.
So you will need to keep your eye on the data; analyse and realise where and how trends are changing and adjust your strategies to meet the new needs of your clients.