Create a strategy that focuses on your customers, by offering them a relevant and personalised experience.
What is inbound marketing?
Marketing has changed. In the past outbound marketing was the only option. Cold-calling, direct mail, newspaper advertising and sending out emails were the primary ways to promote your business.
But things have moved on and today there are better options than these old-fashioned, interruptive marketing techniques that are just as likely to annoy people as engage them.
In the past consumers spoke to salespeople about products or services they were interested in, but the creation of the internet gave online shoppers all the information they need to browse, review and compare products and services, often without having to speak to anyone.
This means that today buyers have more power than they did 15-20 years ago. It’s essential to have a conversation with your audience, rather than give them the same old generic sales pitch. Your goal is to solve their problems with helpful content and guidance, giving them a personalised, helpful and human experience.
To be effective, your organisation needs to have appropriate content and tools that cater for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
What is the buyer’s journey?
- The prospect is showing symptoms of a problem or need.
- They are often just doing online research to understand their problem more clearly – they are not looking for a product or service at this stage.
- The prospect understands their problem or need.
- They are researching methods to solve their problem or opportunity that they were researching in the awareness stage.
- The prospect has made a decision on how to solve their problem.
- They are compiling a list of products and vendors to fit their solution.
- They are whittling down this list to make a final decision.
Provide useful, relevant content to attract qualified prospects to your website
The goal here is to attract prospects who are likely to become leads. But how do you achieve this? You need to service the right content, to the right person, at the right time. The purpose of this content is to educate and guide your prospect throughout their buyer’s journey. But to get their attention in the first place you need to create content that they are looking for. Ideally your content will be the most comprehensive piece on the market. It should answer questions and show potential customers how to solve their problems, or satisfy their needs. Common inbound marketing tactics at the attract stage include:
- Social media
- Content marketing
- Digital PR
Turn your visitors into leads by encouraging them to engage with you
The next stage in the inbound methodology is to convert your visitors and turn them into leads in your database. To do this you need to get prospects to engage with you in a way that suits them. This could be via forms, live chat, calls to action, virtual meetings or assets such as downloadable content. Once your prospect has made contact you’re in a good position to guide them with further relevant content and answers to their questions. You should also use a CRM (customer relationship management) system to keep track of leads, so you can continue to nurture them.
- eBook whitepapers
- Webinars podcasts
- Landing pages
Turn a prospect into a customers by helping and guiding them to solve their problem
Once you have attracted qualified prospects and converted them into warm leads, it’s time to turn them into customers. What’s the best way to do this? At this stage companies can gain credibility by offering helpful content to guide and help customers to make the right decision for their needs. There are also some valuable sales tools available to help you close those leads:
- Pipeline management
- Lead nurturing
- Marketing automation
- Predictive lead scoring
Delight the customer at every stage, including after-sale, to retain them and turn them into a promoter
To delight customers you have to offer as much help, guidance and relevant information as you can to help them satisfy their needs. Doing this helps to retain them as a customer and turns them into a promoter of your products or services. Today, a business’ reputation is defined by customer experiences. Reviews and testimonials are invaluable in securing new custom, so delighting customers helps you increase your customer base and also turns your sales funnel into a sales loop, by getting the same customers coming back.
- Surveys feedback
- Social monitoring
- Referral programmes
Essential for any business with an online presence, an effective inbound marketing agency can help you attract strangers
to your website. With the right content and interaction you can convert these strangers into leads and then into happy customers.
Creating quality, useful content for your ideal customer means that the visitors you attract should already be pre-qualified
prospects. You don’t want just anyone arriving on your site, after all. Attracting warm leads gives you the best chance possible
of turning them into customers and saves your business time by filtering out unsuitable prospects.
By providing informative, relevant content that helps your prospects, and by treating them as an individual and a human when
they become a lead, you build trust and credibility. This means a greater chance of closing leads, retaining customers and
getting them to sing your praises to other potential customers.
A significant benefit of using an inbound marketing agency is that it can be measured. The tools and platforms used, such as HubSpot,
make it clear where your customers have come from, how they interact with your website and with your team.
Inbound marketing allows you to run engaging, integrated campaigns that work across several channels simultaneously, to deliver
a personalised, relevant message to your audience. It offers a better user experience by bringing together content offers,
calls to action, emails, blog posts and even paid campaigns. Most importantly, you can see the results for each individual
marketing channel in your reports.
Inbound marketing platforms give campaign visibility to your entire team, meaning that if anyone is out of the office, someone
else can pick up the ball. This ensures your lead gets the best possible experience. Inbound platforms also make it easy
to follow up emails, get alerts when contacts revisit key pages on your website, download a decision stage content piece
or view a certain number of blog posts, so you can take action.
close and delight, you will create a return customer, and a brand promoter likely to speak highly of your business and
leave positive reviews.
The cost of inbound marketing
The cost of inbound marketing naturally varies from one agency or consultant to another, but you should expect to spend upwards of £2,000, or $2,500, per month for a comprehensive service. This fee can exceed £10,000, or $10,000, if you require supporting services such as digital PR and paid advertising, but agencies should of course base their quotes on your budget, as well as the work required of them. It’s important to invest to get an integrated inbound strategy, coordinated across multiple channels, to give you the best chance of seeing positive results and significant ROI.
An inbound marketing consultation, or assessment, should help you learn more about what a campaign would cost for your business, and what tactics it might include. Consultations are often free, though some inbound marketers will charge for more comprehensive analysis. You can expect to find rates from £75-£250, or $100-$300 per hour.
Inbound marketing tools
There are numerous inbound marketing tools available to support your campaigns, to save time and money, and to generally make life easier for your team. Here are some of the tools you could use and specific products currently on the market:
Social media software
Social media plays an important role in the attract stage of the inbound methodology, being a useful way to boost your content, as well as communicate with current and potential customers. Social media software allows you to collaborate, schedule posts and manage campaigns across numerous channels.
Landing page builders
Landing pages – often featuring content offers – allow you to capture information from prospects, which moves them down your funnel and converts them into leads. Landing page builders offer you a variety of templates that make it easy and affordable to target different buyer personas.
Live chat software enables you to engage a visitor in a channel they are happy to use, and you can respond to them immediately. Statistics state that 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with live chat.
Analytics software is a vital inbound marketing tool to help you analyse the results of your campaigns, to see what’s working well and what isn’t. This insight allows you to review your strategy, make tweaks to your tactics and continually improve your inbound efforts.
HubSpot offers social media software, landing page templates and live chat software and it’s a great all-round inbound platform, though you might find some specific products more useful for certain tactics.
Is Aira the inbound marketing agency for you?
Well yes, we’d like to think so. Based in the UK, Aira are digital and inbound marketing specialists. We contribute regularly to leading industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal, State of Digital and several others. We speak at conferences around the world including BrightonSEO, SMX and SearchLove, and we’re one of just 50 businesses to be listed on Moz.com’s list of recommended agencies.
We are also an official HubSpot Partner and our team is certified across various inbound marketing disciplines. This means we can offer you the best possible advice and inbound marketing solutions. Want to know more? Why not download our credentials deck or get in touch below.