How to Be an Inbound Marketing Wizard

How to Be an Inbound Marketing Wizard

Welcome to Inbound Marketing 101! Today we’re rounding up some of the most common questions we hear about how to develop and implement an effective inbound marketing strategy.

1. What is inbound marketing?

An inbound marketing strategy attracts customers by providing educational, engaging, and relative content to a targeted audience, delivered in their preferred format and location. The audience may not be ready to buy at the time they consume the information, but the goal is to provide something of value free of charge so when the consumer is ready to buy, they will turn to your brand. Why? Through the act of engaging with your content, they already have a relationship with you which is crucial in this day in age. Your content may take the form of video tutorials, podcasts, blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, digital newsletters, and more. It may reside on a website as static or downloadable content, be shared on social media, or even delivered via email. This is a strong contrast to traditional outbound sales techniques such as cold calling, fliers, and television commercials, to name a few. With outbound marketing, the brand has to seek the customer, while the goal of inbound marketing is for the customer to seek the brand.

2. Why does inbound marketing matter?

Inbound marketing represents the way marketing is evolving. Most people do not want to talk to a salesperson on the phone. We fast forward through commercials, if we even see them at all, (hello, Netflix) while fliers and paper advertisements generally go right into the recycling bin. Outbound marketing methods cast a wide net with the hope of catching a few interested customers inside that net. An effective inbound strategy is based on persona development to establish the ideal audience, and then content is created, delivered, and modified based on that target audience’s activity. Consumers are telling us what they want, and inbound marketing responds and delivers accordingly.

3. Does inbound marketing work?

Statistics show that inbound marketing works well, and a primary reason for that is because the focus is on relationship building. A well-executed and maintained inbound marketing strategy sets you up for long-term relationships with your customers. When you demonstrate that you truly understand your customers by sharing information with them that is interesting, timely, helpful, and educational, they will trust you, stay with you, and hopefully tell everyone they know about you.

4. Isn’t inbound marketing more work and more expensive?

Studies show that actually, outbound marketing generally requires more labor when it comes to creation, development, and distribution. For example, which requires more work: emailing a digital newsletter to a targeted list or printing, folding, addressing, sorting, and mailing a paper newsletter? Have you ever sorted a bulk mailing? I have many times. It’s a real pain. Those extra production costs add up, too. HubSpot's 2017 State of Inbound report showed:

  • On average, an inbound lead costs 61% less than an outbound lead.
  • 59% of respondents said that inbound marketing produced the highest quality leads, compared to 16% reporting the same for outbound leads.
  • 46% of respondents reported greater ROI from inbound leads, compared to 12% for outbound leads.

These statistics should be a helpful start in building the case for your team to make a pivot to inbound marketing.

5. How do I get started with inbound marketing?

Work with your team and a marketing agency you trust with a proven track record to develop a solid content strategy based on the inbound methodology. Here are some of the critical bases to cover:

  • Develop your personas.
  • Conduct research to understand who your competition is.
  • Figure out the voice and messaging that will authentically reflect your brand’s culture and help you connect with your personas.
  • Create your keyword and SEO strategy to help you analyze what is drawing people to your website and content.
  • Develop your social media, blog, and other content strategies.
  • Create a calendar for distributing content.
  • Work with your sales team to develop a plan for fostering and managing your leads as they come in.

These statistics should be a helpful start in building the case for your team to make a pivot to inbound marketing.

6. What are the best inbound marketing tools?

Check out this list of some of the best inbound marketing tools available. Our team has used a number of them with great success.

7. What are some major inbound marketing trends?

Video is where it’s at these days. 500 million people are watching Facebook videos each day, and every 60 seconds, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Video on a landing page has been shown to increase conversion rates by 80%. Like we mentioned above, inbound marketing is about delivering useful content to your audience, in the format they prefer to consume content in. Consumers want video, so if you want their attention, you’ll need to jump on the video train.

8. What's next for inbound marketing?

One of the most important characteristics of successful marketers is the ability to adapt to and even embrace change. What works in marketing is constantly evolving, and we must be agile and open to experimentation. We also expect to see growth-driven design (GDD) employed more regularly in our industry. GDD starts with a solid foundation website that is enhanced incrementally based on the needs and desired dictated by the actions of the target audience. As early adopters of this design and development philosophy, we believe strongly in the impact it has, because we’ve seen it ourselves. Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are also already part of the inbound marketing game and will continue to play an important role as marketing evolves.

We hope we’ve given you the information you need to develop a solid inbound marketing strategy for your organization. Did we cover all of your questions? Are there important inbound marketing examples that we didn’t mention? We love hearing from you - let’s talk in the comments!

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Posted by Sharon Stanton

Sharon Stanton

Content Producer - As a content producer, Sharon is thoughtful in her approach. She knows the best results come when you have the full picture, so she listens, and strives to make meaningful connections with people. Sharon likes to convey her message in as few words as possible. Sometimes an ironic emoji is all you need.