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What is Inbound Marketing in 2020?

Insights

Introduction

Surprisingly, inbound marketing as a methodology was first introduced more than ten years ago!

Yet it’s still just making small ripples on our fair British Isles - but make no mistake, HubSpot and inbound marketing are growing in popularity around our country.

You probably already know that anyway, as you’re reading this ebook!

Inbound is centred on the belief that you should not fight for the attention of your potential customers.

By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects whilst building trust and credibility for your business.

Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying mailing lists, making cold calls and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people towards you.

By aligning the content you publish with your customers’ interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close and delight over time.

If you’re ready to find out about why it’s important for businesses wishing to reach sales and marketing goals and reach new leads, read on...

Traditional vs. Inbound Marketing

Traditional

Traditional marketing has always been based on the antiquated belief that the seller knows best.

“We know what Mr & Mrs Smith at 97 James Street, Scottsville, need, so we’ll send them a flyer and we’ll call them and we’ll even pay for a billboard three streets away.”

It may not have been quite as simple as that, but essentially that was the belief pattern towards marketing, as little as twenty years ago. Some are still in that frame of mind.

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t here to bash traditional marketing. In fact, it can HELP inbound marketing efforts, IF it’s performed correctly. But most businesses today cannot see success simply from a traditional strategy alone.

After all, let’s look at Mr & Mrs Smith at 97 James Street - how much did it cost in resource and time to create that cold call, flyer and billboard? How do you know it worked?

Also, today's buyers are increasingly savvy, so ask yourself...

  • Do you really think Mr & Mrs Smith would pick up that call with Caller ID?
  • Do you think they’d take a second look at that billboard as they walk by on their iPhone?
  • Would they see that flyer and then do some online research before even considering your company?

Inbound

Inbound marketing would take that scenario and flip it on its head, choosing to be “there” when Mr & Mrs Smith were “looking” for them.

If we were talking about Scottsville Taxis, a new private taxi company, the company wouldn’t interrupt their potential new customer. Instead, with an inbound approach, they’d do the following...

  • Create a responsive website so they can attract the Smiths to their organisation
  • Use automation and lead generation functionality to gather their data for email campaigns
  • Set up Facebook Retargeting so when they’ve come off Scottsville Taxis’ website, they see their ad on Facebook

All of this activity still means they’re very much on the Smiths’ radar, but it’s up to the Smiths to fill in the form and receive emails, it’s up to them to respond to the Facebook ad campaign.

By leaving it to the customer - and at the same time building a relationship via blog posts, downloadable resources, videos and social media - you’re making them feel good about themselves, educating them and giving them the choice to take control of the relationship. That’s a pretty powerful “feel-good factor” for your company over others in the eyes of your customer.

Inbound Marketing Methodology

There are lots ways of getting started with your inbound journey - we always advise analysing your customer journey and aligning it with the four key stages of the inbound methodology.

Below we’ve listed the four stages - ATTRACT, CONVERT, CLOSE and DELIGHT - complete with the common purpose
for each stage and which tactics fit best.

Attract

To attract new visitors you need a website that answers the questions they’re asking.

Our #1 method for attracting customers is blogging. This is a huge content marketing undertaking but has huge benefits and it also has secondary benefits for your organisation. Once you’ve started to blog regularly, these pages can rank in search and will help you to create social messages.

Convert

Capture website visitors’ details and get their permission so you can email those offers directly.

Creating content such as ebooks and other downloadable resources, as part of a lead generation cycle (using automation software like HubSpot) really pushes customers through the funnel. There’s a lot of work in this part of the cycle, including the creation of calls to action, forms, landing pages
and ebooks.

Close

Nurture your prospect’s interest in your company to ensure they ‘complete’ as a customer.

So you’ve warmed up your lead - they’re interested in you and they like your style! You now need to ‘close’ the deal with decision-making stage activities. This could be a consultation request or testimonials. You can impress your warm leads by ensuring your forms save previously entered information, so they’re pre-populated.

Delight

Once that prospect is a customer, the journey doesn’t stop - delight them so they share your details!

Yippee - you have customers! Those customers shouldn’t be left to drift into the abyss. Keep them happy by continuing to send them useful, relevant information and always considering ways to upsell your new activities.

3 Must-Dos for Implementing Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a belief system, to actually implement it, you need to adopt a strategy for ‘doing’ the three pillars of inbound.

Content Marketing

Often confused with inbound, we see this as the tactic that ‘does’ inbound.

Creating quality content for your buyer personas is no easy feat, but it is at the core of inbound methodology. It encapsulates email marketing, social media promotion, blogging and the creation of ebooks. Content takes many forms, but it is rewarding when done well and as part of a strategy.

Lead Generation

As you ‘attract’ users to your website, you need to keep them coming back...

Lead generation allows you to put in place workflows and conversion opportunities. These will feature relevant calls to action, landing pages and forms. This is an important part of warming up your leads, so they’re more engaged with your organisation and more likely to choose you.

Marketing Automation

To make all of the above - and more - easier you should automate all tasks and stages.

First, it is a piece of software - we highly recommend HubSpot as it is the leading inbound automation platform - but it’s also a skill. Being able to automate and schedule tasks and review and analyse the results is a complex but hugely effective option.

What is Marketing Automation?

Automation software is a miracle worker to those that have used it before.

It allows you to perform your content marketing and lead generation activities, following the inbound marketing methodology, in one place. Automation software makes your processes shorter as you don’t have to switch between platforms and tools to conduct email marketing, social media promotion or blogging.

If you choose to use our recommended software, HubSpot, you can even build your website on the same system! HubSpot also allows you to collate and view in-depth reports on various analytics so that you can measure the success of your efforts and overall marketing strategy.

Of course, it is possible to complete these tasks in a ‘DIY’ effort, such as the Frankenspot method of automation software, but for the best results, you will require marketing automation.

Conclusion & Related Content

As a HubSpot Partner Agency focused on driving results for your organisation, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re going to give you a sales pitch now.

But you’d be wrong.

We actually want to reiterate the importance of making sure inbound is right for your company. Inbound marketing is key for organisations that have the right resources and budget to complete all of the stages required to do it well.

However, you can take the ‘essence’ of inbound and apply it to your current activities so that you are implementing a more effective strategy.

Either way, if you’re interested in the methods and thinking that we have supplied you within this ebook you can take advantage of our completely free consultation call (or meeting, if you’re local). This consultation will allow us to get a good understanding of your business’ needs, goals and sales and marketing targets and we will give you an honest indication of whether we think inbound is worth exploring for you.

To arrange your consultation or to find out more about Thrive and our other services, call our Director, Johnny Woods, on 01325 778 786.

Download and print our complete ebook to dip your toes into the world of inbound marketing for SMEs!

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