Mastering Inbound Marketing
Marketing is evolving quickly, but only because customer behaviors are shifting even faster. The trouble is that there are more customers than sales agents, which doesn’t sound like an issue at first. Perhaps if we put it like this: the marketplace is always larger than any budget can reach.
The point of marketing in this age isn’t necessarily to be seen by as many people as possible. So to be effective in the digital age, sales strategies need to be developed for efficiency, not visibility. Attracting the right customers is more valuable than being seen by as many strangers as possible, regardless of the budget.
That’s where inbound marketing comes in.
Gone are the days of disruptive ads. Customers simply don’t want to feel marketed to, which is why this sales technique is so powerful. But what is inbound marketing, and how can companies use it to create profitable sales funnels?
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a non-invasive lead nurturing strategy. Unlike outbound marketing, which focuses on moving into the spaces that consumers exist in, inbound emphasizes bringing people into a company’s reach.
There are a number of strategies within inbound marketing, but all of them exist to attract the right clientele. Once customers are attracted by an inbound strategy, companies can then focus on providing them value in exchange for engagement, visibility, or direct sales.
As a philosophy driven by content, inbound marketing works to present customers with the right information at the right time. Many sales reps know the dark truth about marketing: customers aren’t interested in a company’s product. Why is that? Well, because customers aren’t product developers.
What they are interested in is how to solve their problems. As a result, inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers to spaces where they can find a solution.
Three reasons to invest in inbound marketing
Understanding how inbound marketing works is the key to mastering its techniques. While no one strategy is better than another, inbound boasts some key advantages that make it more effective for certain outcomes.
Moves customers along the buyer’s journey
Leads don’t start off as customers – they start off as strangers. Content marketing is an inbound strategy that brings strangers onto a company’s website. From there, people can access the information they need to turn them from strangers to leads and then finally to customers.
That process is known as the buyer’s journey, and every sale follows a similar pattern. However, this type of sales funnel works best when strangers come to a website of their own accord, not when they’re led there through outbound methods like targeted ads or cold calls.
Outbound marketing is disruptive
Now it’s important to remember that outbound strategies do have their place. Though when it comes to lead nurturing, outbound isn’t always the best way to target high-value customers. If anything, it can feel disruptive.
Inbound marketing works because it only engages with customers when they’re actively looking for a solution to their problem. Customers want more control of the buying process and fewer interruptions when they’re just using the internet.
In short – people want to choose when they receive marketing content.
Sales teams always have to balance impact against the available budget. Search Engine Journal reports that inbound marketing strategies cost 61% less than outbound ones. More impressively, inbound costs less and generates higher quality leads by meeting customers as close to the moment of sale as possible.
Since inbound leads are already looking for a solution, sales agents have a higher chance of conversion than they would with outbound targeting.
Four stages of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is about moving a consumer along the buyer’s journey. It works b meeting people where they are, helping them find a solution to their problems, and then providing value after the sale. This process can be divided into four stages: attract, convert, close, delight.
Content is the primary way companies bring in traffic. This traffic is full of strangers who may have never heard of the brand before. What attracts them to a company’s website is the valuable information hosted on it.
This part of the buyer’s journey is about signaling value to strangers and getting them on a company’s platform. From here, the content provides free value – no sale is made in the “attract” phase. This is the time to get people invested in the content itself.
Content used to generate traffic should be optimized to rank well on the search engine return page (SERP) and read well to an audience.
Once a stranger has found a business through its content, the next phase of the buyer’s journey looks to convert them into a lead. It’s important to note the difference between a stranger and a lead here.
A stranger can be attracted to a site, read the content, and absolutely love it. If that’s all they do before leaving, they remain a stranger. Once a person shows an interest in a company’s product, then they become a lead.
To capitalize on that interest, companies should have tools in place that allow people to engage further. While this isn’t the selling phase, a transaction needs to happen – usually involving information. A call to action or email sign-up is a great way to get people to signal their interest and exchange valuable contact information.
Once a person becomes a lead, it’s time to turn them into a customer.
This is the area sales teams focus on the most, and for a good reason. While every part of the buyer’s journey is critical, without closing the deal, it can’t work.
There are several ways to make a sale, and reps should be aware of all of them. After all, a customer is a unique individual who will have their own reaction to every kind of pitch. That’s why gathering information in the conversion phase is essential – that’s what indicates the best way to close a deal.
The most dangerous thing a company can do is forget a customer as soon as a sale is made. As the saying goes: it’s more efficient to keep a customer than to look for a new one.
Repeat transactions are a great way to generate revenue without moving a new person through the buyer’s journey all over again. Money doesn’t have to be invested in attraction or conversion, just closing over and over again.
Customer support creates an avenue for people to ask follow-up questions about additional services. The contact information that leads exchange can also be used to offer them new products or services as they come up.
In this phase, inbound marketing works to foster brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. A delighted consumer won’t just come back for another sale – they’re also more likely to recommend the product to people in their sphere of influence.
Mastery takes practice
Inbound marketing is only complex because it’s an umbrella term for a host of strategies. With experience, sales teams can adapt its techniques to unique situations to ensure that lead generation is always optimized.
Mastering inbound can be done – it just takes an understanding of the buyer’s journey and a willingness to refine it with every cycle.
Mastering Inbound Marketing – A non-invasive lead nurturing strategy or lead nurturing campaign starts with great content and solid research with the freshest highly targeted lists. Impact Enterprise’s highly skilled data specialists can get the data, cost effectively and efficiently. Test pilots are always FREE. Services include, lead validation, data enrichment, contact research, data entry & CRM hygiene; content services include content management, influencer mapping and moderation for social media; AI Data Annotation services include image labelling, language processing and geospatial analysis.
Impact Enterprises was Established in 2013 and recruits skilled talent from bright young professionals in Zambia, Africa, where 59% of graduates find themselves unemployed and without an opportunity to showcase their skills and dedication. For recurring projects, the company provides a dedicated team to oversee operations for each client and guarantees an exceptional standard of delivery.