What Is Inbound Marketing – 7 Things Your Boss Wants To Know
What is inbound marketing? Everyone in marketing circles knows that “inbound” as a buzzword has been trending in boardroom marketing meetings for the last few years. There’s a rush of enthusiasm for developing content driven strategies that speak to your customers needs, for engaging in education and conversation rather than direct selling and with good reason – inbound marketing delivers results. I know it, you know it but there’s a big hurdle, how to convince your boss to invest in inbound?
What is inbound marketing? Here are 7 things that your boss wants to know about Inbound Marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects, via content creation, before they are even ready to buy. It is a style of marketing that focuses on getting found by new visitors, converting traffic into leads, and finally nurturing them until they are at a sales ready state.
Inbound marketing is about delivering helpful resources to your potential customers that answer their questions and/or help to solve their problems in exchange for their email details. It positions your company as an educator, an authority, someone who can help and with their email contact you can no nurture your prospect towards the buying decision.
Why Do We Want To Use Inbound Marketing?
The answer is simple. Buying habits have changed. In today’s world most people have used the internet to conduct their own research about products, services and prices before even consulting with a sales representative. The companies who are winning new business are the ones answering the questions these are asking. If you want to be competitive you need to get in front of your customers early and connect with them in the research phase of their buying journey.
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
Inbound marketing is a methodology for attracting customers through the generation of useful content. It focuses on using search engine optimised blog posts, social media messaging and email workflows to target, capture and nurture potential customers towards a buying decision. This is best illustrated with an example:
Wells Fargo created a blog post to target people interested in retirement. “ Five retirement mistakes to avoid“. The keyword target for the article was retirement mistakes. The blog post appeared on page 1 of google position 7 potentially driving a lot of traffic to their post. At the bottom of their post was a CTA inviting readers to sign up for a free report, thereby securing the lead. Using this methodology Wells Fargo are able to secure leads early in the buying journey and start a dialog to position themselves as an authority on retirement planning.
What Are The Advantages Of Inbound Marketing
Probably one of the biggest advantages of inbound marketing, apart from the obvious lead generation capabilities, is that it helps your company align its marketing across multiple channels. Creating blog posts that address common consumer questions and concerns give your company the perfect solution to engage a wider audience in discussion on social media sites, forums and the like.
I don’t know how Wells Fargo approached their social media strategy. I’m sure they posted a link to their blog post but I can think of a range of other strategies to align this campaign in social media circles. Maybe I would have prefaced the sharing of the blog post on social media with a tick a box survey of retirement concerns. posted some newspaper headlines or pictures of people in retirement crisis with a thought provoking caption or simply just asked some questions around the topic. There are so many things you can do, its about getting creative. If you want to know more check out inbound marketing strategy tips
Is Inbound Marketing Difficult to Implement?
To a certain extent this really depends upon the existing infrastructure within a company with regard to a digital presence. If the company already has a website and/or blog (which most do) its really not that difficult. For most companies, inbound marketing isn’t all that hard to accept or implement. I find that most companies already have a team of knowledgeable professionals and a significant amount of material that can be re-purposed. The real key is to focus on the mind shift in strategy.
When first starting inbound marketing you need to take a few steps backward and concentrate on a little customer research. Defining your ideal customer or customer persona(s) , their problems, concerns and objections provides the framework for your content creation. Your customer insights are the driving force for developing campaigns to reach those ideal customers.
How Hard is It to Measure Inbound Marketing?
The good news is everything you do in inbound marketing is measurable. You can use a variety of analytics tools to measure website and page visits, CTA clicks and leads generated. You can monitor where the traffic is coming from to guage the effectiveness of your channel campaigns. Once you have a lead you can further evaluate the leads activity by looking at which emails they opened and which links they clicked. Depending upon with tracking tools you are using there is a plethora of information right at your fingertips. Most importantly you can work out your leads to sales metrics and know exactly what you need to do to scale your business.
Is Inbound Marketing Right For Our Company?
I think this one is simple. As I mentioned earlier the companies that are winning in business today are the companies who are engaging with their audience to provide solutions. If you rely on marketing and sales strategy to bring in customers then you need to get on board and convince your boss today that a shift in strategy toards inbound is the only way to go. Good luck!