The inbound marketing methodology uses inbound marketing to convert strangers into leads. In order to fully understand the inbound marketing methodology you must understand Inbound Marketing. Inbound marketing focuses efforts on creating and distributing superior content for people to find and use to educate themselves when they are looking for the service or product you provide. This differs from traditional marketing because you’re not buying ad space or billboards to promote your products, you’re writing blogs and creating case studies to help people can find you. The four stages of the inbound marketing methodology are: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
The goal of the first stage in the inbound methodology is to turn strangers into visitors. The strangers you are targeting are your buyer personas. You need to create content that speaks their language, and provides the answers to their problems. High quality content is the key to getting strangers to your site, and a good content strategy supports the creation of strong, effective content that achieves your goals. A few ways to help attract strangers are to blog, become active on social media, optimize your current content, and focus on your SEO. Blogging is one of the most important inbound marketing techniques to help attract strangers because its possibilities are virtually limitless. There’s always a topic to write about, or subject to go more in-depth on that could answer questions your audience has. Assuming your research reveals your buyer personas are active on social media, that is another way to attract them because you are speaking to them on a platform they like to consume information on. The more active you are on social media, the more people can find you. When you share great content, chances are your followers are going to share that content with their followers, which gives your more exposure. Optimizing your current content will help to convert people who are already coming to your site, by making it easier for them to find the solution they came to your site for. Finally, taking a step back to focus on your SEO will help you to rank higher on search results, allowing more people to find you.
Now that you have successfully turned your strangers into visitors, we want to turn them into leads. In this step we are only trying to get their contact information so we can further nurture their needs. The best way to get this information is by following the conversion process. Once a visitor has completed the conversion process, you can nurture your lead by sending them relevant information and then take the next steps to close the lead.
This is the step you have been working so hard for. You successfully attracted your stranger and turned them into a visitor, you have the visitor’s contact information and now they are in your system as a lead, so we need to close them. This stage is a joint effort for the sales and marketing team because marketing has done their job at successfully converting the visitor into a lead and qualifying them as a potential customer and now it’s the sales team’s turn to close the lead into a happy customer. There are many ways to help guide our leads into customers, and tools like email, marketing automation, and a CRM system can help you sell to your leads at the time they are ready to be sold to. For example, sending emails that relate to the content offer they downloaded helps to show the lead how much information there is on the topic they’re interested in, and positions you as their expert. Marketing automation and well-built workflows take the manual effort of sending those relevant emails out, making your nurturing as efficient as possible.
Inbound marketing doesn’t just stop once your lead is closed, it goes all the way through to delighting your customer. Delighting happens when the sales team has successfully closed the lead, your execution team has run a couple successful campaigns, and you have provided exceptional customer service. If those actions have happened, then it’s time to turn your happy customers into promoters of your brand. Let’s face it, happy customers are more likely than unhappy ones to refer you to their friends. You can make sure your customers are happy by regularly sending customer satisfaction surveys and by monitoring social media to see where your brand is being talked about, and whether it’s positive or negative. If you notice that things aren’t looking so good, and people don’t seem to be happy with you, then you need to take a step back and figure out how you can make your customers happy. If you notice everything is positive, then that’s great! These happy customers are more likely to refer you to their friends when the time comes.
Our Bonus Step: Analyze
While not specifically stated in the inbound methodology, an overlying piece of the puzzle throughout these four stages is the analysis. Analysis should take place at every step in the inbound methodology because everything you do with inbound marketing needs to be analyzed.The analysis is so important because without it you’ll never know how you’re actually performing. If you don’t analyze that email campaign you sent that lost subscribers rather than gained leads, then you’re doomed to send another email that performs the same way. Any piece of content you create, campaign you launch, or social media posts you make should be analyzed to see where improvements can be made, what is working so you can repeat it, and what isn’t working so you can avoid it or fix it.
Following the steps of the inbound methodology will help to increase your online presence and start to get you more inbound leads. Have you tried implementing the inbound methodology in your practice? Let us know in the comments!