Considering inbound marketing but not sure how to get started or if it will really work for your business? Louise Abbott provides her expert insight into the topic, with facts and figures you can use to convince the team inbound is the way forward.

You have a fabulous, shiny website. It’s all singing and dancing. Yet it’s not converting. Sound familiar? On average, only 2% of visitors to your website are ready to do business, according to data from Hubspot. That means that 98% of your website visitors are only window shopping.

The challenge is how do you convince more of this 98% to enter the store, browse and then buy?

The answer could be inbound marketing.

Unlike traditional marketing, which can be intrusive and pushy as the seller takes control, inbound marketing is more about engaging your client in a conversation. It’s about letting the buyer take ownership in their buyer journey, as you gently lead them with well-informed content and thought leadership.

Gone are the days of telemarketing, direct mail and mass media advertising. Inbound marketing is much more personal. It’s about word of mouth, social media, blogs and content that nurtures the customer through their decision making process.

Inbound Marketing Explained

Put simply, inbound marketing is about creating quality content to entice customers to your company and product, and then taking the time to get to know them so that you can convert, close and – eventually – delight them with the final product.

Here’s how content and marketing automation come together to create a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy:

Inbound explained

Marketing automation ensures that your lead receives timely communications based on their specific behaviours or attributes. This is then paired with content marketing, which creates quality content to increase brand awareness and educate and engage customers.

The relationship with the customer becomes more organic and less linear that through traditional marketing methods.

Knowing Your Customer

Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are a great way to understand who your customers are and what they are looking for. We recommend you create at least three, if not more, buyer personas for your business.

Buyer personas help make your customers real to you, helping you create content that talks directly to them and engages them from the offset.

Your buyer personas should include:

  • Demographic information
  • Behavioural data and information
  • Narrative information
  • Fears, pain points and challenges
  • Objectives, goals and targets
  • Drivers and motivators
  • Information sources
  • Personality and interests

Once you know all this you are better placed to create the content your buyers are looking for.

Content Creation

Content strategy

A well-rounded inbound marketing strategy will include content to feed all stages of the buyer journey – awareness, consideration and decision.

Content can come in many forms:

  • Articles, blog posts and newsfeeds
  • Email campaigns
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • Surveys
  • Top tips
  • Checklists
  • Buying guides
  • Catalogues

For a fully integrated inbound campaign to work you want to have a multi-faceted approach to content marketing. The aim is to deliver shareable, relevant and targeted content that will drive brand awareness as well as driving product. Work on creating evergreen content that can be repeatedly introduced to new clients as they enter the buying cycle, along with topical pieces to keep you ahead on search.

We recommend you start with a content ideation brainstorming session, driven by your marketing team, to home in on the messages, themes and content types most likely to resonate with your customers.

For more on Content Ideation download our FREE eBook The Best-Practice Guide to Content Ideation.

Data Capture – Lead Generation

Your content has two main uses: (1) to attract new customers and (2) to nurture potential or existing customers. Newsfeed subscriptions, webinar registrations and gated content for eBooks, reports and white papers all provide excellent data capture points.

Once you have engaged your client and encouraged them to share their data with you, you can start to nurture that relationship through email marketing. At this stage, you already have a list of self-qualified leads, keen to learn more about your brand and product – that’s a great starting point.

Email Marketing

Communication symbols

Much of inbound marketing is interconnected and, often, circular in nature. A client comes in through an eBook form fill so you email them and direct them to a blog or news article on the same subject.

Alternatively, they show an interest in a blog post and you drop them a line encouraging them to download the eBook. The aim of both is to regularly communicate with your clients.

Email marketing is also a valuable tool to win back previous customers. It’s a great way to subtly remind people that you are still there and reacquaint them with your product offering. It can also be used to nudge abandoned baskets into making that purchasing decision, perhaps with a discount or sweetener, such as free delivery.

Email marketing provides timely and targeted communication opportunities. It enables you to segment your customers to send tailored messages, reaching specific people based on selected criteria. What’s more, email marketing provides an immediate response, is easy to track and share, enables you to integrate defined calls to action, such as ‘download this eBook here’, and, from a financial perspective, it is low cost and offers measureable ROI.

Profiling & Segmentation

male female

Email marketing may be central to inbound, but as with all forms of marketing the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Email should be part of an integrated approach to inbound marketing.

For inbound marketing to work you need to consider all contact interactions, including landing pages, web page fills, form fills and downloads, as well as traffic source and lead scoring.

Most inbound marketing solutions will integrate with your CRM system, giving your sales teams a complete profile and activity history of each client.

Adopting lead management profiling and segmentation will enable you to greater maximise on your message. Your client may have come into the system looking for a ‘red handbag’ but your data on them means that you are confident their profile would also benefit from marketing messages on ‘brown boots’.

Remember, acquiring a new customer can cost up to 10 times the rate of retaining an existing customer, so always be looking for ways to remarket and re-engage.

Lead Scoring

Each and every customer has a value to you. In order to get the most from your inbound marketing campaign it is vital you prioritise your clients based on their level of interaction with your website, pages and content.

Allocate points to build a unique scoring profile – this can be based on their relationship with you as well as external factors such as their job title, industry, geographic location etc.

Using this scoring system you can then trigger internal tasks, external interactions and – all importantly – sales calls.

Integrated Inbound Marketing

Integration jigsaw

As with any form of marketing, inbound cannot be done in isolation. A successful inbound marketing strategy should integrate with your SEO, social and paid search activities.

There are many areas of overlap, from keyword lists that can feed into PPC ad campaigns and on-page content to full data attribution showing which areas of your integrated campaigns are engaging leads and driving conversion.

Attribution will help you see which channels drive which part of the purchasing process and when your customers are most active, helping you build out a fuller picture of your customer and their research or purchasing habits. Remember – digital marketing is not just about ‘last click’.

The Business Case for Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is ideal for businesses that embrace technology and are innovative in their approach. It is perfect for companies who are promoting a complex product that needs consultation before a sale is agreed. 90% of B2B buyers will use the internet for information or product research at some stage in the buyer cycle, with 60% of the B2B buying process being completed before contact with a sales person.

Inbound is about attracting better traffic rather than just more traffic. It takes time and requires a long-term investment. However, once you have built out your buyer personas, created your content, and started to grow your list of leads from downloads and form fills, the benefits will come in thick and fast. Let’s look at some stats:

Inbound marketing stats

The above shows how inbound can impact your bottom line. Look what happens if we increase organic traffic by 25%, increase visitor to web lead conversion rate by 2% and increase web lead to sale conversion fate by 15%. These three refinements in your marketing strategy could see your revenue increase by 375%! Still not convinced inbound is for you?

ClickThrough Marketing is a HubSpot Partner Agency. Find out how our team of HubSpot Qualified Specialists and HubSpot Designers can help drive sales and build brand loyalty for your business. Visit our Content, Automated & Inbound Marketing page to find out more.

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About the author:

Louise Abbott is head of inbound and email marketing at ClickThrough Marketing. She works with clients on a strategic level to deliver email, content and automated strategies designed to attract, convert and close more customers. With over 15 years’ experience in digital marketing, Louise has worked with many of the leading email and inbound platforms, and earned HubSpot accreditations, including Inbound, Partner, and Design certifications.