what is inbound marketing

What is Inbound Marketing: Definition & Basics

Inbound Marketing Definition

In a nutshell, inbound marketing is a way of meeting your potential buyers where they are and engaging with them on their terms. It means enticing your buyers to come to you.

So, What is Inbound Marketing?

More likely than not, you’re probably already using inbound marketing tactics and just don’t know it!

Today, successful marketers use a wide mix of types of content across an array of platforms in order to connect with their customers at every stage of the buying process. The idea is that attracting potential customers to your website will help to familiarize them with your brand and what you provide.

The goal is to make a good impression, and in turn, make it more likely that these prospects will choose you when they are ready to make a purchase.

So, what does that have to do with inbound marketing? In essence, creating content, like white pages, infographics, blog posts, and social media profiles will help build awareness and orient consumers to your band.

This, in effect, brings them “in” with subtle, but targeted, marketing efforts designed around their general needs and specific pain points. This differentiates inbound marketing from more traditional methods of “outbound” marketing like ads or email marketing blasts that go out to your customers.

Why does Inbound Marketing Work?

One of the key reasons inbound marketing has found so much success is due to the fact that today’s potential customers want a more personalized, customized relationship with the businesses they buy from than ever before.

Today’s prospects and customers want you to know their name, and call them by it, where they work, and most importantly, what they need. It is these buyers that control the purchasing cycle, and they have high expectations for each and every interaction they have with your brand.

For this reason, it’s simply not enough to be able to say, “we’re doing an inbound marketing campaign.” If you want to build trust and strengthen your relationships with your buyers, while driving greater revenue, you need to utilize an effective inbound marketing strategy.

How Do I Know If It’s Right for My Business?

Inbound marketing is a powerful tool that can be utilized by pretty much any business, in either the B2C or B2B sectors. But if you’re still unsure, here are a few signs inbound marketing would work well for you:

  • You use your website to sell your products or services. Or you want to.
  • Your target audience uses the internet to learn about topics you have expertise in.
  • You’re looking for new ways to reach/approach your target audience.
  • You have time and budget to devote to creating quality content to educate and delight customers.
  • You have a strong enough understanding of your buyers to create personalized, valuable content.

ROI of Inbound Marketing

If you’re still on the fence about inbound marketing, consider its return-on-investment. Inbound marketing is somewhat unique in that it has a (generally) smaller up-front cost than other marketing strategies. This means it can have an incredible ROI when applied properly.

  • Inbound marketing brings the leads to you. In general, this means it can generate up to three times more leads per dollar than traditional strategies (source).
  • Inbound marketing uses less budget. Businesses that rely on inbound marketing can save up to $14 on each newly acquired customer (source).
  • Inbound marketing’s ROI is proven. In fact, 44% of brands that use automated marketing software see an improved ROI within six months, and 75% see improvement after one year (source).

How Does Successful Inbound Marketing Work?

Using thought leadership, education, and entertainment, inbound marketing helps your potential customers develop a deeper relationship with your brand. The idea is to provide helpful information, fun or useful tips or tricks and generally providing content that proves how much you care about your prospect’s problems and success.

Basically, inbound marketing’s job is to draw in potential customers by appealing to them on an information level. It entices them with solutions to their problems – some of which they may not have even known they had!

To best understand the process of inbound marketing, it’s best to think about it in a set of five stages.

Five Successful Inbound Marketing Focuses:

#1: Attract Traffic

For your inbound marketing efforts to work in the first place, you must start with lead generation. That means attracting new visitors to your website. That said, you’re not looking to simply generate massive numbers of visits, but rather, focus on attracting quality users who already match your ideal customer.

During this first step, it’s wise to set your goals and identify your key performance indicators (KPIs), that is, the most important metrics to assess the success of your campaign.

In this first step, you’ll need to rely on several strategies, including:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): If you spend time improving your positioning within search results, your website will appear when your potential customers need you most.
  • Content Marketing: Relevant content, at the moment your potential customers need it, can reinforce the attraction.
  • Social Networks: Social media marketers use them as a means of distributing your content to help reach people who need it.

#2: Conversion

Once a visitor has arrived on your website, you’ll want them to leave their data to become a lead and continue to receive information from you.

To convert visitors into potential customers, or qualified leads, the classic strategy consists of providing them with high-quality content in exchange for their information. That said, there are many more strategies, such as test demonstrations, meetings, phone calls, etc. No matter the strategy, the goal is always to get their information.

#3: Marketing Automation

One of the keys to successful inbound marketing is the process through which you communicate with your leads until they convert into customers. Try these techniques to achieve this:

  • Lead scoring: This technique is based on creating an evaluation system that lets you objectively assess the chances of a lead becoming a client.
  • Lead nurturing: Design a series of automatic flows to send relevant information to your leads according to their needs and based on the score you have given them.

#4: Loyalty

You’ve converted a lead into a client! Hooray! But the process doesn’t end there. Next, you’ve got to get this customer to stay with you for as long as possible with loyalty strategies. These include things like newsletters, offers, and incentives.

An effectively designed loyalty strategy can be immensely beneficial to your company since maintaining a client over the long term is much less expensive or labour intensive than acquiring a new customer from scratch.

#5: Analyze It!

No successful inbound marketing strategy is complete without a plan to measure and analyze the results. For this part of the process, you’ll need to go back to those KPIs. How did they do?

It’s also critical to establish periodic controls on your campaign. That way you can analyze the results as they are happening and adjust your strategy appropriately. This will help improve your inbound strategy as you go.

Ready to supercharge your inbound marketing efforts? Asset Digital Communications can help! Book your free consultation with our founder Mary-Jane Owen today!