The world of marketing has experienced drastic changes throughout the years. It is mainly fueled by the advancements in technology like the internet and social media. Along with it, people’s preferences have also shifted as they now have more choice and opportunities.
So, what worked a decade ago, no longer serves true today. That includes marketing approaches that feed people with information that they didn’t ask for. However, you still see that everyday in television advertisements, obstructive online ads, and many more. They are generally called outbound marketing, the opposite of inbound which society has leaned towards.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The concept of inbound marketing is simple, you create marketing content that adds value to your brand or business. This single line is what manifests the overall goal of the marketing strategy. However, diving deeper, there are a lot of key aspects to keep in mind to adhere to the principle. In this inbound marketing guide, you’ll learn how to successfully create campaigns that attract and convert customers to loyal ambassadors of your brand.
How Does Inbound Work?
You now know the theory, so how do you put that into practice? What should be your marketing action plans that align with the principle?
1. It Shouldn’t Be Obstructive
Recall how businesses do marketing before. Even if you didn’t ask for it, you receive it. For example, when watching television, did you ask for a short clip about a shampoo or soap?
That is what you don’t want to do when implementing inbound. You should never disturb your market by giving them something which they didn’t ask for. It will get annoying which could potentially cause people to turn their backs on you. When that happens, instead of investing to bring customers in, you are pushing them out.
2. Capitalizes on Useful Content
It is specified that inbound is about adding value to your business. What can you do that will urge a customer to come to you, instead of having to chase them? You just have to give them answers to their questions. When you have information that can help your market, you don’t necessarily have to go after them, they will be the ones coming to you.
The question you should be asking yourself is, what are your market’s questions? Remember, regardless of the person, everybody has questions that need answering. Some know what their problems are while others need to be informed that they indeed have a question. You then present your answers in the form of content.
It could come in any form, from articles to videos, you name it. You don’t serve it to your audience. Instead, you just make it readily available because there will always be people in search for answers. For example, if you are running a grocery store, put an article on your website on how to read nutritional facts. While people come for answers, they end up knowing your store and sticking with it.
3. Guide Your Customers with Tailored Content
Not everybody needs the same answers. Remember, there are people who already know their question while there are also ones that need to be made aware of an impending dilemma. For example, there are ones that know that what they need is an air conditioning unit, but there are people who just know that they need to cool themselves, they just don’t know what. Each person needs a different type of content. The former needs answers on how to choose the best one while the other needs to understand first why air conditioning is his best choice.
The point of inbound is helping your customers. So, your content marketing should be targeted on specific audiences depending on what stage they are in the buyer’s journey. As you guide them through every step of the way, you will ultimately become their number one choice.
Remember the three stages of the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness – letting a customer realize a problem and that he needs something.
- Consideration – making the customer know about his different choices that he can consider.
- Decision – a point when a customer has made a choice but is finalizing his decision with more useful informative content.
4. The Four Marketing Stages
In addition to the buyer’s journey, there are also four stages to undertake when dealing with a potential customer. Inbound is not just about making a sale, but being there for the customer before, during, and after a purchase is made.
- Attract – it is the attraction phase. You create useful content that a customer couldn’t help but approach you.
- Convert – after gaining the attention of a potential customer and knowing that they are in the market for your product or service, the next step is to convert them to someone who is now deciding to make a purchase, or a lead.
- Close – the point when you seal the deal with a lead and have them make a purchase.
- Delight – it is what happens after a purchase. You follow up with them, deal with their concerns, and everything else that will ensure that they are kept happy.
Is It Too Much to Remember?
Most people would think that inbound is difficult just because of the core principles that makes it what it is. However, in practice, these are much simpler to enact and remember. Everything revolves around putting the customer first, just like any business principle. At the end of the day, you will not just find this easier to implement but experience results way beyond what outbound approaches could ever deliver.