Have you noticed that your advertising efforts aren’t as effective as they used to be?

Well, there’s a reason for this. Consumers and businesses are getting burned out from ads.

According to Hubspot, 86% of people skip TV ads and 44% of direct mail is never opened.

Even worse for marketers, over 50% of Americans are on the Do Not Call List!

traditional marketing broken

These stats are from 2011. I bet it’s even worse today!

So, what’s the alternative?

The answer is inbound marketing.

But, what the heck is inbound marketing anyway?

According to Hubspot, “inbound marketing is a holistic data driven approach that attracts people to your brand and converts them into lasting customers.”

When you use inbound marketing, customers come to you first instead of the other way around.

What makes inbound marketing different?

This quick video from Instapage is a great introduction to inbound marketing.

Why is inbound marketing a big revolution in the way people do business?

Consider how things were done 30 years ago.

At that time, if you had an issue, you grabbed the phone book, called whoever you thought could answer it and then set an appointment.

The ads on TV made it easier for you to figure out who to call.

You might have asked a friend for a referral first, but by and large, that’s how it was done.

Contrast that to today….

These days, if you have a problem, you consult with Google first.

According to a 2014 study by Accencure, formerly Acuity Group, a whopping 94% of business buyers did some form of online research before making a purchase. The vast majority of these, 77% were done through a Google search.

According to a Retailing Today study, 81% of consumers research online before making a buying decision.

Think about it. When you buy something that costs more than a couple of bucks, what do YOU do?

I bet you start by asking Google a question…

Then, you ask your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn

Then, you read some blog posts or watch a YouTube video or two.

Then, you are down to a couple of products and a couple of potential providers of those products.

At that point, you check reviews, either on Amazon for an online purchase or Google reviews for an in person purchase.

You have the decision nearly complete before you contact the seller.

YOU want to be in control!

You aren’t alone….that’s how everybody likes to buy things!

The Good News About Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is LESS expensive than outbound marketing and can, if done correctly, generate higher quality prospects for your business.

inbound leads cost 61%25 less than outbound

Inbound Marketing Methodology

So, how do you do this? It comes down to methodology. You need to understand these stages as they relate to your potential customers.

The stages are: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.

Your goal is to move your prospect from the stranger stage to the promoter stage.

Inbound marketing methodology

The Buyer’s Journey

To do inbound marketing well, you need to understand the Buyer’s Journey. A Buyer’s Journey is the active research process a buyer goes through before making a purchase.

You didn’t know your buyer was on a journey? Well, they are!

According to Hubspot, there are 3 stages in the Buyer’s Journey: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

Buyer

You need to understand what the buyer’s needs are for each stage.

If your team creates good content, you can easily move your buyer to the next stage and closer to the decision.

Many marketers try to just work on the decision stage and forget the other stages. Targeting the buyer’s decision stage before the buyer is ready will make them very angry!

By the way, outbound marketing techniques such as cold calling are totally about the decision stage. This is why people get mad at cold callers. Most people simply aren’t ready or aren’t a good prospect and can’t be forced into it.

Your team needs to adjust the content for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Here are some types of content that your team can utilize at each stage.

Buyer

Buyer Personas

Before you can create content, you need to know who your customer is. This is done through a Buyer Persona.

A Buyer Persona is a list of traits of your ideal client.

Who is she?

What does she do for a living?

How much money does she make?

What kind of car does she drive?

What are her hobbies?

Buyer Persona

Example of a buyer persona

Many people even take it a step further and put a photo on the persona. Makes it more memorable as you are working on it.

If you have a good idea of WHO you are targeting, you will have a much better understanding of HOW to reach him.

Is she on Facebook?

Instagram?

Twitter?

Linkedin?

YouTube?

Within all those platforms, your team has options for ad creation. Now you can target the right person, with the right message at just the right time!

Now that you understand inbound marketing a little better, are you going to apply it?

Chances are you need help with it.

There’s a lot to know and understand with inbound marketing. You need to have the right team in place if you want to do inbound marketing effectively.

If you’re ready to get help setting up an inbound marketing campaign, or want assistance with improving an existing one, click here to schedule a free consultation.

Images courtesy of Hubspot

Read more: The Tipping Point in Inbound Marketing