If you're new to marketing, all the terms getting thrown around can become a bit confusing.
Inbound marketing, outbound marketing, content marketing - what does it all mean?
In this post, we will give you a definition of inbound marketing and how it can fuel your content marketing strategy.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing focuses on creating high quality content that adds value to attract new and existing customers for your business.
By creating relevant and engaging content, customers reach your website by clicking on blog posts, infographics, social media posts and other forms of content.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing is a form of marketing where your company tries to initiate a conversation with potential customers.
Today, this is often considered an outdated way of marketing and uses methods like TV ads, radio, cold calling and email spam.
Inbound vs. Outbound
Unlike outbound marketing, with inbound marketing, you are not just throwing your message out there and hoping it sticks.
In this modern world where we are exposed to so much advertising, we become numb to a lot of it. With outbound marketing, you are just hoping your message screams above the noise a bit louder than your competitors.
With inbound marketing, you are creating content that deals with problems your ideal customers will encounter. You are providing them with answers to questions they are asking for and only once you have established a trusting relationship with them do you try to sell them your product.
This can seem like a more protracted process, but you are attracting higher quality leads as they have a genuine interest in your product.
The content you create gives you a chance to establish credibility among your prospects, meaning your leads will come back time and time again.
The Stages of Inbound Marketing
You want to attract people to your site - but not just any people, the right people.
According to HubSpot, 61% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge.
Potential leads that may convert into customers. So, how do you draw in these potential customers?
With relevant, high-quality content using channels such as blogs and social media.
Once you’ve hooked in your visitor, you want to convert that visitor into a lead.
Using your CRM, chatbots and website forms, you start a conversation with your potential lead.
Once you've started this conversation, you can ask them questions and direct them to content that answers their specific issues, adding value to their current business predicament.
You’ve attracted high-quality visitors, you've started to convert them into leads, but they still need a push to become a paying customer.
So, how can you most effectively turn them into a customer?
Using sales pipeline management tools, tailored email marketing and lead scoring, you can provide the right content at the right time to help close leads easier and faster.
Inbound marketing is all about customer satisfaction. Providing them with excellent service and continuously adding value beyond the product that you are trying to sell so that they can't help but be delighted as they become a customer.
This great experience means you will get a higher Customer Lifetime Value.
The customer may even become promoters or evangelists of your product, recommending you to like-minded businesses or providing you with user-generated content.
Why You Need A Blog
Blogs are the cornerstone of any Inbound or Content Marketing Strategy.
We could go on and on about why they are pivotal in generating leads and about why having high-quality blog content on your website is great for your customers, your sales process and your SEO.
Here are our top 4 reasons you need a blog on your business website:
1. Blogging see, blogging do
If everyone's doing it, you should be too right?
As HubSpot says, "55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority."
While that's not always true in the case of marketing generally you should listen to the experts.
Most marketers are focusing a fair amount of their inbound strategy on blogs because they see such excellent results.
These marketers have previous campaign data to rely on when thinking about future campaigns - they wouldn't put the majority of their efforts into a channel if it wasn't seeing results.
2. Blogs really do generate leads
According to IMPACT, "companies who blog generate 67% more leads than those who don't blog."
These numbers speak for themselves.
3. Blogs are great for attracting new audiences
Blogging when done correctly, using thoughtful long-tail keywords, audience and competitor research, allows you to reach a vast new audience, the billions of people that use the internet.
You can contact them in an instant with little initial investment, just your time and knowledge.
Blogging allows you to promote your business and get in front of people who are searching for terms related to the products you sell who you would otherwise find it hard to reach.
You can get audiences to your site without them feeling you are trying to sell them something. Would you rather click on a link to "Buy consulting services” or to “Learn how to promote your business”?
Probably the latter because it's bringing you value.
Only after you've read the blog post and established trust would you consider buying a service or products from the site you've visited.
4. Blogs allows you to establish authority
Your blog will enable you to write detailed content about topics and trends that both matter to your audience, and you are experts in.
Providing them with this valuable content means they will begin to trust your brand, coming back time and time again to get information from you. This generates additional traffic to your site, and your high-quality content will boost your SEO rankings.
In the fast-paced world we live in where we are constantly bombarded with content, advertisements the internet and social media influence many of our decisions. Inbound Marketing is one of the best ways to expose your business to high-quality leads , leading to nurturing and eventual conversion.
Customers are exposed to more information than ever, and this information is changing their buying behaviors, so you must adapt your content marketing strategy to match.
Inbound Marketing will help you analyze what content your customer wants and provide them with content that adds value rather than just trying to throw material out there and hope some of it sticks.
The Importance of BOFU content
BOFU stands for bottom-of-the-funnel.
When we refer to ‘the funnel’, we are talking about your sales funnel - the bottom is parallel to the close stage of your inbound marketing strategy.
An average prospect will interact with your company many times before they actually purchase your product. According to HubSpot, 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016).
And as we know, the more interactions they make the further down the funnel they move.
BOFU content is much more targeted and specific than TOFU (top-of-the-funnel) content.
Once a prospect is at the bottom of your funnel, the content should act as the final push you will use to convert them into a paying customer.
Content at the TOFU stage is used to build a relationship and establish trust, but content at the BOFU stage is much more direct.
You have already established a relationship, so now you need to highlight specific products of your brand and how the prospect will benefit from purchasing them.
BOFU content is so valuable because it is the last step before converting visitors to customers. You don't want to have put all that effort into getting prospects into your funnel and moving them along just for them to get stuck at the bottom and not convert .
In your BOFU content, you should give your leads everything they need to know about your brand. Show them what makes you better than your competitors, why they will benefit from buying your products, and any offerings you have.
Inwards and Upwards
A successful inbound marketing strategy is built on the philosophy of adding value. Establishing your brand as an authority is difficult, but always worthwhile.
Is your inbound marketing strategy effective?