As more marketers are using Inbound Marketing to shape their digital strategies, it’s important all inbound elements are used to get more engagement, leads and sales. Inbound marketing strategies can still succeed with isolated channels, but we’ve got the evidence to show why you need a holistic approach.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a methodology born from the changing habits of modern buyers. Outbound advertising strategies may not be as successful as they used be. For example:
- 86% of people are regularly skipping television adverts
- 44% of cold emails are ignored or immediately deleted
As the success of traditional outbound methods decline, more marketers are looking to other strategies. Many are now looking to inbound.
The methodology of Inbound Marketing focuses on creating marketing strategies that engage with your ideal customers. Unlike outbound, inbound strategies work to attract customers who are actually interested rather than bombarding people who aren’t.
With inbound you can attract buyers with relevant, helpful and useful information and convert them into customers. Here is the process:
But it’s not all about offering premium content. There are many different sections you have to master to create a successful inbound strategy for your business.
Elements of Inbound Marketing
SEO is an important part of inbound. With SEO you can get more visitors to your site via organic channels. Using highly searched keywords in your pages and blog content, relevant people can find their way to your website and see your content.
Just like SEO, you need to use social media as a channel to bring more people to you site and as a tool to share your content online.
Having a blog is central to any inbound strategy. A blog with valuable content is what attracts ‘strangers’ to your site and turns them into visitors.
Customer Management System (CMS) this is a valuable hub that holds on your contacts’ details so you can reach out to them with relevant emails.
CTAs in your blogs and on your website are vital to convert visitors into leads. A clickable button that leads to a landing page allows a reader to progress down the conversion funnel. Without one of these the only option is to leave your site.
After clicking on a Call-to-Action, the visitor is brought to a landing page where they will submit their contact details in exchange for valuable content, helpful templates or professional advice. (A central part of inbound is offering something valuable for free to online visitors, in exchange for their contact details which you can use to turn them into customers!)
After receiving their contact information, you can then reach out to the buyer via email marketing. Tempting offers and helpful advice can nurture these leads into paying customers.
Having a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help you record and track all your leads. This management system can help you see the history of your potential customers. You can see what pages they looked at and even what emails from you they have opened. This gives the marketing team the data they need to make key decisions.
A Holistic Approach to Inbound
So, we’re clear on all the ingredients that make a successful inbound strategy, but we regularly experience a lack of cohesion between them. Very few of the above parts deliver results on their own. Let’s pick out a few of the key pillars of Inbound and explain why they all need each other.
Social media is a fantastic, low cost method for getting your message heard. Unfortunately a huge number of businesses only go as far as posting news pieces from other sites or sharing a decent meme. The interaction and engagement for these sorts of social messages will always benefit an external site.
So while they may show your followers you have your finger on the pulse—you won’t see much of a benefit. Diversify your social sharing with links to your service pages, products or self-written blogs. Again this will promote a continual flow of interested traffic to your site, not someone else’s.
As we’ve mentioned Blogging, or creating content in general, is a great way to show that you are committed to educating your visitors. It also shows you are happy to give expert knowledge and opinion away for free (a central strategy in inbound marketing).
Companies that are able to create high quality content have the opportunity to develop the sense of value between the visitor and a brand. However it isn’t as easy as throwing up a few paragraphs. There is minimal strategic advantage to posting blogs without calls to actions, as without one the only option after reading a blog is to leave.
Whether you attract visitors to your blogs through social media, paid ads or SEO—ensure you include a CTA on the page so people can continue to engage with your site and move further down the buyer’s journey.
Once you’ve written a great blog and included an attractive CTA—this clickable button is completely useless unless it is aligned with a suitable tone of voice and buyer journey stage. Avoid creating CTAs that repeatedly lead people to a purchase page, that’s a big jump from a blog.
Vary your offers and free content—allow people to interact in a way that suits them. For example, a blog that explains the definition of SEO should not have a CTA that leads through to a purchase page for SEO agency services. We’d advise that the CTA moves the reader on a step, maybe offering them an eBook that talks about the key benefits or compares it to other methods.
As you can see, inbound marketing is connected by different factors that brings the customer to the website and then encourages them along the Buyer’s Journey.
In our example, you can see the journey of one of our customers. Our CRM has recorded all activity and sent out timely automation events to direct them through the Buyer’s Journey.
Let’s look at automation in more detail. Here’s an example of a workflow we use at Digital 22 for people who use the Website Grader Tool.
Automation takes the humble email and can make it infinitely smarter. While the weekly newsletter can work for more generic updates, it’s nearly impossible to create unique email campaigns that reach specific people when they are ready to read without well planned automation. This is where automation steps in.
Modern CRM systems can build up rules for when to send certain messages, which behaviour to look for and how long to wait for until the next message is sent. By creating rules and allowing an intelligent system to follow an automated set of guidelines—you will be able to interact 24/7 without any work beyond an initial setup.
Automation should be set up in a way that gently nurtures people down the Buyer’s Journey—think of it as the most attentive and un-interruptive sales team in the world.
Social Media / SEO > Blog > CTA > Landing Pages > Contact Form > Premium Free Content > Email Automation > Customer!
There are no shortcuts when it comes to inbound. Having an Inbound Marketing strategy is a long term investment that works by interacting with potential customers at different stages of the Buyer’s Journey.