Marketing Practice focused on attracting prospects to services or products is called Inbound Marketing.
This is done by creating valuable content and market it via different channels. Some of them are Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing.
Inbound Marketing is focused on forming connection with the audience and providing solution to the problems audience have. This creates trust and authority of the company in the eye of the audience.
The term was coined by HubSpot back in the year 2006. According to HubSpot Inbound Marketing Strategy is consists of four stages.
- Social Publishing
- Landing Pages
- Smart Content
- Social Monitoring
While Outbound Marketing focuses on interruption, which they do by continued advertising, promotions, public relations and sales. On the other hand Inbound Marketing reverses the relationship between the company and the customer and focuses on creating value for it’s audience and thereby a trust between the two.
What is Outbound Marketing and Why It Suck
Outbound Marketing often referred to as Interruption marketing or Push Marketing is an traditional marketing technique in which a company tries to get their message to a large number of people in an effort to make sale.
Outbound Marketing is loosing it’s sheen as the social media has put the power in the hand of the people, whereas traditionally the power has always been in the hand of the companies.
Channels of Outbound Marketing
- Print Media
- TV/Radio Advertisement
- Online Paid Advertisement
- Cold Calling
- Direct Mail
- Email Blast
This type of marketing is often very costly, you can still see it with large companies. As your advertisement are seen by a large number of people who may not be looking for the product or service you are offering. It’s a one-way conversation that typically focuses on the product and reasons why the audience should buy it. But smaller and media companies are better off with value creation and applying inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing has fallen out of favor in the last 10 years. Over Saturation with me-too companies, everyone should as loud as they can to grab the attention of prospective customer caused people to start ignoring this type of advertising, even detesting it.
Inbound Marketing Process
As we have already discussed, the Inbound Marketing process is consist of 4 stages, but for the convenience and because out of these four the two stages, namely convert and close overlap so much that I have divided the process in 3 stages instead.
To work well, inbound marketing needs a precise process that, if respected, provides a competitive advantage compared with outbound marketing. The process is composed of four sequential steps: attract, convert, close, and “delight” in order to obtain more visitors on sites, to speed up conversions and finally increase the number of leads and prospects.
The Inbound Marketing requires a company to know who it’s audience is, they do it with Customer Personas. A Customer Persona is a tool to understand the ideal target customers.
You usually go through Market Segmentation to get to the niche and further divide them based on Behavior and Psychography. This helps in understanding the target customer.
Creating Customer Empathy Maps and User Journey Mapping further enhances the understanding about the customer and helps in deciding what channels we want to use to reach our target audience.
“Attract” does not mean attracting random people; companies want to attract the right people at the right time with the right content.
Based on Customer personas, we can define the beliefs, pains, hobbies, goals, etc. of our customer and then we can create the right content or solution for their problems.
Approaching Inbound Marketing with a clear strategy can provide us infinite flow of quality leads.
Once we have the attention of our target customer, we can now focus on engaging with them to create value and trust and position ourselves as authority.
This is where we need to capture our customer’s contact address, mostly emails and through our targeted marketing convert them from prospect to buying customer.
Emails are the most valuable information for an inbound marketer. It’s crucial for prospect engagement. You can use paid or free services to create your email lists
There are many free and paid tools to create the automated process to engage with your audience. And there are tools to capture and analyze audience engagement and refine and define what we offer.
This analytics and automation tools can help to personalize the website experience using smart content, and the entire buyer’s journey.
Lead Magnets are a great way to encourage your website visitors to share their email. Lead magnet is piece of content or tool which your visitor can download or use in return for their email.
After attracting a prospective buyer and converting them to a buying customer, you need to keep in touch with them.
It ensures customers are happy, satisfied and supported long after they have made purchase. Become adviser and expert to assist your customer at any time. Post purchase experience is mostly what turns a customer into a raving fan.
You can use well thought chat-bots, timely surveys to assist, support and request feedback from your customers. These practices are a great way to delight your customer.
Social media listening is another way of delighting the customer. Having interaction, feedback and experience sharing on your social media profile is a great tool to delight your customer.
Types Of Inbound Marketing Channels
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ranking higher in he search engine results (“SERPS”) by utilizing search engine best practices. It’s a practice of getting organic traffic to your website by targeting keywords related to your industry.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a part of digital marketing and involves increasing website visibility on search pages, the targeted outcome is vey similar to SEO, but the approach is very different.
while SEO focuses on organic traffic by optimizing our own website, the SEM does it by paid advertisement using the search channel’s ad platform.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a marketing practice which uses the social networking sites to connect with audience, promote and drive traffic to websites and learning from users’ direct reactions.
Although SMM is basically based on the principle of organic search, which means search engine ranking is improved of the website which is connected to social networking websites.
But the use of Social Media as a tool goes far beyond that. Audience engagement and audience interaction is far greater and easier on social media than with traditional ways.
You can also use paid ads on social media to either increase your website’s traffic or to promote your social media page.
Live Events and Webinars
One of the more powerful technique to get audience engagement is providing them free training sessions or webinar to encourages a real time learning
This is far greater than downloadable guide, which lots of people will download and never read, because it lets them see your face and understand your personality.
And the great thing about webinar is, that, you can keep tab on who is watching the whole thing or who is leaving in the middle. It helps you in focusing on only those who are really interested and it also helps you in refining your offer. As a lot of people will navigate out not because they are not interested, but because they did not found your webinar useful.
Inbound Marketing is great way to drive traffic to your business. It’s a great way to engage with your audience and convert them from prospects to buying customers. It’s a great way to create a post buying relation with the customer. Delighting customers converts them from a customer to a fan.