Whilst tried and tested marketing channels and traditional advertising are still relevant for generating leads and acquiring new customers in this digital age, inbound marketing is emerging as a lucrative lead generation approach for businesses, particularly in B2B.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is all about giving your target audience useful content that solves a problem or meets a specific need, at each stage of the buyer's journey.
There are three key stages in the buyer's journey:
- The Awareness Stage
- The Consideration Stage
- The Decision Stage
These can also be categorised as:
- TOFU (top of the funnel)
- MOFU (middle of the funnel)
- BOFU (bottom of the funnel)
These are the three stages of readiness to buy, as you seek to convert visitors and prospects into leads and customers.
The difference between traditional marketing (“outbound marketing”) and inbound marketing is that inbound is not about selling and pitching at customers, inbound marketing is all about attracting customers to your products and services by helping them.
How do I attract more customers with inbound?
The key to attracting prospects and customers is to fully understand your audience and cater for their needs. It's a customer-centric approach. Focusing on your “personas” should be at the heart of your inbound strategy. We call it the "give-get" model, where you provide people with something of extreme value. Once you have provided this, you ask for what you would like in return. This creates authority and trust with people at all stages of the buyer's journey.
How do you go about this? Well, you need to start by mapping personas. Personas are your ideal customers. You need to build profiles for key personas, including age range, job title and role responsibilities, whilst telling their story and exploring their likely goals, challenges and pain points.
Mapping each persona's pain points is crucial, as providing solutions to persona pain points with relevant content, will help turn visitors into leads, leads into customers, and (eventually) customers into promoters. This is inbound marketing, and this inbound methodology example from our friends at Hubspot, demonstrates the lead generation and customer conversion process:
The role of content marketing
Creating content that is focused on the awareness stage, will steer visitors towards the consideration stage, where you can convert them into leads. Nurture these leads with further relevant content, to move them through the funnel to the decision stage, where qualified leads can be “closed” and turned into customers.
Maintaining customer relationships through post-purchase marketing can move these people to the final goal of the inbound marketing methodology, which is turning customers into brand advocates and promoters. This enables you to meet more prospects via referrals and testimonials.
Creating relevant content at every stage of the buyer's journey, ensures the success of your inbound strategy. Here are some key types of content that you might create at each stage of the buyer's journey:
Inbound and content marketing combine an array of marketing channels, such as blogging, SEO, email marketing, social media, marketing automation and even paid social and PPC. Your content strategy will only be effective when it is optimised for search, built around content topic clusters, then promoted through relevant channels and shared wth prospects in the right places, at the right times.
Lead nurturing and bringing Marketing and Sales together (Smarketing)
The most successful inbound strategy, requires your Sales and Marketing teams to work together effectively. Which is sometimes call "Smarketing". When Marketing passes leads to Sales, leads should be qualified and receptive to sales-related conversations. This is where a good CRM and sales and marketing platform can really make the difference. These hubs enable businesses to nurture leads, according to analytics and insights.
Common inbound marketing strategies focus on capturing the contact details of your prospects via website forms, through the give-get model (as explained above). You'll go on to create lists from your CRM database and segment contacts for behaviour-based automated workflows, encouraging contacts and leads to take actions and move further down the funnel. The results are incredible!
Find out more about smarketing, with our dedicated blog: What is Smarketing?
A well-structured inbound strategy means you are meeting your prospects and customers at their level and providing extreme value at every stage of the buyer's journey. CRM platforms give businesses the visibility and capability to see and respond to each interaction. This completely revolutionises how you communicate with prospects at every touchpoint. The result is a harmonised marketing and sales process, that means you're helping people and never selling. Nice, huh?
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Enchant Agency is a leading UK digital marketing agency, based in London. We help brands to reach their full potential across a range of channels, including email marketing, CRM and paid social advertising. Want to learn more about inbound marketing and lead generation, why not contact our marketing specialists and get a free consultation?