What is Inbound Marketing?
“…An approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive.”
This might be difficult to hear if you’re in the business of marketing.
People generally don’t like commercials, or any ad that interrupts and tries really hard to sell them a product. That type of selling—known as outbound marketing—often makes potential customers feel coerced, intruded upon, and disrupted.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, focuses on building awareness, developing relationships, and generating leads. It’s a method that attracts and informs people, engaging them in a way that helps them find your company before they have any intention of becoming a customer. Far removed from flashy ad campaigns, inbound marketing provides content that is educational, entertaining, and welcomed by potential customers.
The Inbound Methodology
While outbound marketing delivers content your audience doesn’t always want, which risks losing a customer for life, inbound marketing seeks to solve consumer problems by creating valuable content and tailored experiences.
It’s a marketing strategy that doesn’t rely on hackneyed ad campaigns, annoying junk mail, or cold calls. Instead, inbound caters to consumers who are more deliberate than impulsive in their purchasing habits—they diligently research, listen to trusted referrals, read reviews, compare pricing, and seek answers before handing over their money.
This approach organically grows your organization by building a foundation of meaningful relationships with consumers, prospects, and customers. Sounds a lot more fruitful than straight-up annoying customers with obnoxious noise, doesn’t it? Inbound marketing takes the informative angle, as it meets specific needs and wants through relevant resources, such as blogs, social media, ebooks, guides, emails, and more.
Those resources so integral to inbound marketing serve to answer questions and address pain points during any stage of the buyer’s journey, and this methodology strives to achieve three main objectives:
Attract. Grab the attention of the right people by deploying content and conversations that frame you as a trusted advisor worthy of engagement. (Ex. content creation and development)
Engage. Position insights and solutions that clearly align with customer pain points with the ultimate goal of getting them to buy from you. (Ex. manage inbound sales calls, solution selling)
Delight. Maintain a connection with helpful support, empowering customers to remain satisfied with their purchase. (Ex. chatbots and surveys to assist, support, and request feedback)
Inbound businesses use this methodology to build trust, credibility, and momentum.
Adding value at every stage of the customer’s journey is precisely how you attract, engage, and delight. And it’s these three components that make up the inbound flywheel.
The what? OK, let us explain.
The methodology (attract, engage, delight) represents the growth of your business. Happy, satisfied customers provide the energy fueling that growth, either because they buy from you again or because they bring new customers to you by promoting your product to other people in their network. Inbound marketers illustrate this momentum with a flywheel.
The investment in strategies that seek out, acquire, and retain customers is how you build momentum and pin your flywheel. Of course, anything that moves can potentially be slowed by friction. One of the biggest sources of friction has everything to do with alignment, or lack thereof. Alignment and communication between teams is crucial to keep the momentum going and the flywheel spinning.
When all of your teams are aligned around an inbound approach, you can provide a holistic experience for anyone who interacts with your business, no matter where they are in their buying journey. Attracting isn’t just the role of marketers. Engaging isn’t just the role of sales. Delight isn’t just the role of services. To create relationships that last and customers that stay, every customer-facing team needs to focus on how they can contextually attract, engage, and delight your prospects and customers, and continue to build trust in your brand.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
Inbound marketing efforts start simply enough with the creation of content. This can take the form of well-researched blog articles, dynamic content offers, and engaging social media posts. The key differentiating factor between a strategy that works and one that stalls is the value it does or doesn’t provide. Guides about how to use a product or service, an extensive blog delving into the specifics of how you solve a customer’s specific problem, positive testimonials from previous customers, promotional offerings and discounts—this is all content that provides value, and attracts customers.
But here’s one of the most important rules of attraction: Writing and publishing blogs alone won’t necessarily reach your target audience. For that, you must optimize your content with an SEO strategy. Here, you target specific keywords and phrases that represent your efforts to serve customers and are related to your products or services. The more keywords you target on a consistent basis, the more your content will organically appear on the search engine results page (SERP) of a customer actively searching for something related to your business.
Following the production of content, continue your flywheel’s momentum by keeping the lines of communication open. Engage with leads and customers, to build beneficial (and profitable) long-term relationships, by focusing on customer service. Here, you’ll need to handle and manage inbound sales calls, and always be “solution selling” rather than “product selling.” Remember that the customers will be searching for you and calling you—this means they are already so-called “right-fit” customers, and you only need to ensure you close the deal!
So you’ve attracted customers, engaged with them, and (hopefully) seen the relationship through to the buying portion of the customer journey. After the purchase is finalized, delight customers with strategies that establish your team as advisors and experts that can step in to assist any customer, at any time. Chatbots and surveys can net customer feedback and glean invaluable insights to help you improve processes. And even if your business doesn’t receive any tangible benefits, your delighted customer, handled properly, can become a brand advocate and unofficial promoter.
Throughout this article, you’ve seen links sending you to a place called HubSpot. What’s a HubSpot? Credited with coining the term “Inbound Marketing” back in 2006, HubSpot is Inbound Marketing and Sales Software that helps businesses attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Leveraging HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Methodology and powerful CRM platform will grow your business, improve efficiencies, and achieve your goals.
Morey Creative Studios Is Your Inbound Marketing Team
Morey Creative Studios is a Diamond HubSpot Partner Agency, a mark of distinction that reflects our training and certification in the most effective inbound lead generation services and strategies. We utilize HubSpot as a cutting-edge platform that coalesces all the elements of a proactive digital presence and streamlines the process to ensure the most efficient return on your marketing investment. HubSpot coordinates your website pages, traffic monitoring, blog publishing, social media, and so much more. This attracts prospective customers to your website, then helps convert them into dedicated, paying clients and advocates.
Think of Team Morey as your off-site/in-house design and marketing department, creating content that enriches the lives of your customers—rather than annoys them into consumer submission with disruptive and unwelcomed marketing tactics.
To learn more about inbound marketing, HubSpot, and how to effectively attract, engage, and delight customers to maximize results, contact Morey Creative Studios today!