Inbound marketing is a digital marketing strategy that relies on creating content to attract visitors to your blog or website. The goal is to convert these visitors into leads and then turn them into customers.
The term “inbound marketing “was coined by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006 (HubSpot). They observed that the interest of internet users in quality content can strongly influence their purchasing behavior and, consequently, represent an excellent opportunity to promote their software.
The principle is to create a space for exchange and sharing between your company and its prospects. The methodology is primarily based on a content strategy in which your publications address topics of interest to your prospects, and then share them widely through an appropriate social media strategy. Your goal is not limited to occupying space but extends to capturing the attention of qualified prospects. This stems from a clear definition of the target audience, what interests them, the means to reach them, and your SMART goals.
Inbound Marketing Implementation
The Inbound Marketing conversion funnel is based on 4 stages: Attracting, Converting, Engaging and delighting.
SOURCE : HUBSPOT
Step One: Attracting
The attraction phase is primarily concerned with developing your reputation among qualified prospects. The goal is to generate traffic to your website and social media. It is the stage that should bring you out of obscurity to the spotlight. It relies heavily on a content strategy. This strategy involves demonstrating that your company is interesting enough to grab attention. Optimizing your presence is achieved through search engines and social media.
In practical terms, this translates into creating content dedicated to your target prospects (buyer personas) and distributing it to reach as many of them as possible. The content should address topics of interest to your target audience and be within your expertise. It is crucial to avoid talking about your company or products in a very direct manner.
Step Two: Converting
It is fascinating to attract an audience, but you must convert them into customers. This is where nurturing comes in. In other words, it is important to regularly nurture your prospects with newsletters, social media posts, call-to-action (CTA) prompts, landing pages, etc.
Newsletters involve sending content by email to a list of prospects. The content’s primary purpose is to inform, educate and provide commercial or promotional offers.
Choosing social media posts should not focus solely on your products. It is highly recommended to also provide advice, information and tips that may interest your prospects.
Call-to-action (CTA) prompts are a very effective way to move the prospect from a passive to an active stage. CTA is a clickable tool placed on a web page, blog, or email that encourages your prospects to take a specific action to undertake the buying process.
A CTA usually directs to a landing page. This page contains the offer that the potential prospect can get to by clicking on the CTA. It can take various forms: The whitepaper form allows the potential prospect to deepen their knowledge about a specific topic. Quizzes allow your prospect to test their knowledge on a given topic. Sales documentation allows your prospects to obtain technical specifications or features that may interest them. Company presentation is an opportunity to highlight your company’s expertise.
Step Three: Engaging
The goal of this phase is to engage prospects to become customers by building relationships with them through digital (social media, newsletters, etc.) or traditional means (appointments, phone calls, etc.). In this phase, you must engage in a discussion with your prospect to examine their request in more depth. You should discuss the benefits of the product and the value it can provide instead of limiting discussions to its features only. The exercise is about getting the prospect to align with your offer. Without this long-term business relationship, it would be impossible to retain your customers.
Step Four: Delighting
The ultimate goal of this process is to retain your customers so that they become ambassadors for your brand. This is achieved not only by offering them products and services that meet their needs but also through engagement efforts. At this stage, it is imperative to value your preferred customers and maintain a relationship of trust with them. Social media and emails can be highly beneficial in this customer retention process, through automated emails sent after a long period of prospect inactivity. It is recommended to personalize and use emotionally resonant language (emphasize the emotional aspect of correspondence).
Over the past twenty years, digital marketing has disrupted the relationship between a company and its prospects. Mass communication, phone reminders, repeated visits from sales people, etc., are becoming increasingly intrusive for potential customers. Inbound Marketing marks a new era of exchange and sharing with prospects, in which everything is done (following best practices) to become interesting in their eyes and, consequently, charm them. However, you cannot become your own media overnight. It would be highly recommended to enlist the help of professionals to successfully implement and succeed in your content creation strategy.