A frequently asked question in marketing is what’s the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on building meaningful relationships with leads or customers by offering them value at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Outbound marketing is considered a more traditional form of marketing where organisations would initiate contact with leads, this could include marketing activities such as print media, direct mail, billboards etc.
The key to successful lead generation is a balanced mix of outbound and inbound, in this blog we will focus on inbound marketing and share our top tips for creating an effective inbound marketing strategy.
Create ‘Value-added’ content
With so much competition and a wealth of resources online, customers have more choice than ever before. More options it means that brands/businesses need to provide more to engage prospects. With inbound marketing, the best way to engage your potential prospect is to create and provide content that is going to ‘add value’. Simply this means the prospect must get something from your content, this could be tips, upcoming events or industry changes that will be of interest to your prospect.
Content comes in many forms so whether you decide to use blogs, infographics, video or e-books, the most important thing is that it provides your prospect with something additional. This means that over time you’ll build a relationship with your prospects as they now see your business as a source of reliable information.
Try new channels to distribute content
Content creation is just one aspect of a having an effective inbound marketing strategy. You also must decide what's the best method of distributing your content.
There are multiple channels you can choose from to distribute your content including: Email, social media, Blogs etc.
Create in-depth buyer personas to help determine what channel your audience are most likely to be on and then create content that is specific to that channel.
Map out your customer journey
The customer journey is the process that people go through before deciding to buy something. Every customer journey may look different, but the average customer journey would include the following stages:
- Awareness: This is when the customer has learned who you are
- Consideration/research. This is when the customer will look a bit deeper, they may look at your competitors and see where they will get the most value
- Conversion/Decision. The customer will make their decision
- Post-sale. The journey doesn’t stop after the sale is made. The customer should be asked for feedback and the business should continue to engage with the customer.
Knowing the customer journey will give you a deeper insight into the customer. Knowing what stage in the customer journey the prospect is at, will determine what content/messaging they receive. Once the customer/prospect receives content that is relevant to the stage of the journey they are in, they are more likely to continue through the customer journey and ultimately purchase your product or service.
Segment your leads
There are endless ways you can segment leads I.e., you could segment based on demographics, industry, job title, whether they are a decision maker within an organisation.
You could also segment leads based on their actions I.e., have they opened your past three emails? Or have they taken the time to engage with your content.
There are so many options with segmentation, but how does it help your inbound marketing strategy?
Segmenting your leads means that your leads are receiving content that is most relevant to them, in turn this means that your leads are more likely to engage with the content or find it useful. Segmenting your leads correctly will also reduce your unsubscription rate.
Nurture your leads
As seen from the buyer's journey, it’s highly unlikely that customers will make a snap impulse decision to purchase your product or service. They will require time and accurate information before they make their decision.
Inbound Marketing can help move prospects through the buyer's journey by using ‘lead nurturing’. Lead nurturing is the practice of engaging with customers who are not yet ready to buy. These customers may not be ready to buy for several reasons, more than likely they need more information on your company before they decide to make a purchase.
Lead nurturing is a series of communications, adding value to the lead at every point, with the end goal of moving the lead through the buyer's journey.
Engage with existing customers
One big mistake companies make when creating an inbound marketing strategy is thinking that the communication with lead’s ends post sale. Retaining customers cost’s less than new customer acquisition.
Continue to engage with customers who have already purchased your product or service, develop the relationship further and over time with efficient marketing, these customers will become loyal customers or ‘brand ambassadors’ for your business.
Use the best tools
Using the right software will assist with creating an effective inbound marketing strategy. Look for a software that will allow you to create inbound marketing strategies all in one. The main things to look out for is that your software gives you the ability to
- Attract prospects
- Convert prospects
- Close sales
As a creative agency, we both use and recommend HubSpot. With its ability to create landing pages, CTA’s, set up workflows, segment leads and much more it’s the perfect method of creating an inbound marketing strategy that will work and convert leads.
Did you know, Wurkhouse offer a free inbound marketing assessment? Register for your free analysis today!