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What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing turns outbound marketing on its head. Rather than focusing on constantly force-feeding your brand to customers, inbound marketing instead relies on customers coming to YOU.

I’m Nick and I have a uncanny obsession with words. I live, breath, and even eat (alphabet cereal) words all day, everyday. You should definitely subscribe because we’re going to put out some of the most insightful marketing content you’ll ever come across.

Posted on July 21, 2016 in Strategy

What’s inbound marketing, you ask?

Inbound marketing turns outbound marketing on its head. Rather than focusing on constantly force-feeding your brand to customers, inbound marketing instead relies on customers coming to YOU.

Inbound works because it gives the people what they want instead of giving them what you want to give. We’ve used the inbound marketing method to grow ourselves into the best inbound lead generation firm you’ve never heard of. Until today.

Inbound marketing also happens to be THE best way to advertise and do business online, and boils down to attracting and converting customers, closing sales, and eliminating all forms of buyer’s remorse to make up-selling and cross-selling even easier.

Let’s look at the components of powerful inbound marketing and find out why it’s just so damn good at what it does.

Major Components of Inbound Marketing

Content Creation and Distribution

Content creation is specifically targeted to answer customer questions and make them feel like your business is the right choice.

Lifecycle Marketing
Turn customers, visitors and clients into brand promoters.

Complete Personalization

Your content isn’t about you—it’s about your customers.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Inbound reaches out to prospects all across the board, wherever they are, instead of forcing them to come to you.

Synergy

SEO, content, design, social media…all work together to create a marketing force to be reckoned with.

Location

Great inbound content is found wherever your customers are. Smart content distribution is a big difference between outbound and inbound marketing.

Timing

Inbound content is aimed at customers wherever they are in the buying process, building trust and making it easier to seal the deal.

The Four Steps of Inbound Marketing

1. Attract Customers

Traffic is the lifeblood of digital marketing, but we want any old traffic. We want good traffic. The best traffic. We want the people who are most likely to make the transition from visitor to customer.

The right people, as it turns out, are our unique buyer personas. In short, buyer personas encapsulate everything about your ideal buyers, from their goals to their pain points, their objections to buying and what makes them tick.

Your buyer personas are the people who matter most to your business, and some of the inbound tools we use to attract those people are:

  • SEO: Dominating the search engine results with careful keyword planning is a core tenet of solid inbound marketing, and helps create the best possible content for your customers.
  • Blogging: More than just putting out content, blogging is a way to educate buyers about your services and your brand by answering their most common questions.
  • Pages: Your web pages are often the first impression your business makes on customers, and optimized, content-rich pages are how to make converts out of browsers.
  • Social Media: Publishing your content on social channels helps put a human voice to your brand.

Convert Visitors

Chumming the waters to attract visitors leads to conversion, where we finally lower our nets.

Conversion relies on collecting information from potential customers, most important of which is the almighty email address. Contact information allows us to continue marketing to visitors whether they’ve bought from us or not, and the exchange is usually initiated by sharing something of value—such as an eBook or guide.

Essentially, you’re buying a visitor’s contact information with something the visitor finds valuable. Some of the most important conversion tools for inbound marketing are:

  • Forms: The easiest way to collect contact information is through an easy-to-use form.
  • CTAs: Buttons and links that influence visitors to do something—like downloading an eBook or subscribing to an email list—are calls-to-action.
  • Landing Pages: This is your offer, the page where a prospect inputs information that either directly leads to a sale or gives your team valuable insights into how to land the sale.
  • Contacts: Your database of leads creates an invaluable treasure trove of future contacts to continue selling and optimize your conversion process.

Close the Deal

Visitors who don’t outright buy from your website aren’t a lost cause. Actually, this is where inbound starts to heat up. Through conversion, you’ve managed to collect a hefty amount of customer information that can be used to seal the deal with tools like:

  • CRM: Customer relationship management tools help you easily track past and potential deals, always ensuring you have the right data available whenever you need it.
  • Closed-Loop Reporting: Manage the separate but related aspects of marketing and sales, finding out whether your marketing efforts are landing the best leads possible for your sales team.
  • Email: Got a lead, but they haven’t bought yet? Email drip campaigns can give them the nudge they need to finally become a customer.
  • Automation: Using our heaps of data, we can create customized systems and messages to automatically continue marketing to prospects.

4. Destroy Buyer’s Remorse

The elite customer experience offered by inbound marketing doesn’t stop after the sale. The best inbound-focused companies continue treating their customers like a million bucks long after the check is cashed, which leads to repeat business and brand advocates without you lifting a finger.

Here are some of the tools we use to do exactly that:

  • Smarter CTAs: CTAs that change based on who is viewing them bring in way more sales than generic ones.
  • Smarter Text: Text that changes to match your specific buyer personas creates a seamless experience for all visitors to your site.
  • Surverys: Ask your customers what they want, and they’ll tell you.
  • Social Metrics: Social questions, likes, and comments are all relevant to your inbound efforts.

The Future of Marketing is Inbound

You’ve probably read a dozen blog posts talking about the future of marketing and how outbound is dead or dying. That’s not because there’s some big conspiracy to overthrow the old-school marketing mindset—it’s because inbound really IS better for online marketing.

Inbound marketing simply takes advantage of the natural benefits of the internet, pays attention to cultural shifts and expectations in our current society, and combines those insights to deliver high-quality marketing that’s better for both business and customers.

It really is a win-win scenario, and that’s what inbound marketing is all about.

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Written by

I’m Nick and I have a uncanny obsession with words. I live, breath, and even eat (alphabet cereal) words all day, everyday. You should definitely subscribe because we’re going to put out some of the most insightful marketing content you’ll ever come across.

Posted on July 21, 2016 in Strategy