The way that buyers shop today is dramatically different than it was even just a few years ago. Companies used to be able to simply push out their product information to their prospect lists and make sales.
But today consumers are in control, and the old marketing playbook is broken. Buyers are nearly 70% through their decision-making process before contacting a seller. Viewers record TV programs and skip the commercials. They unsubscribe from spam email. They ignore telemarketing calls, and direct mail often goes straight into the circular file. Shoppers tune out traditional marketing that they do not expect, and that interrupts their routine.
Inbound marketing is marketing by permission. It focuses on the customer when and where she wants to receive product information. Because the Internet makes it so easy for buyers to do their research, most inbound marketing happens online, via search engines, email and social media. As a result, inbound marketing delivers on ROI, and provides cheaper and higher converting leads.
But while inbound marketing happens mostly online, is not a channel, tactic or technology. It is, in fact, a philosophy that attracts visitors, converts leads, nurtures leads and delights customers.
Successful inbound marketing requires a solid strategy. Here are six basic steps to help you get started with your inbound marketing strategy:
1. Set Goals
Start by holding a discovery session to uncover what you want to accomplish with your inbound marketing program. Establish benchmarks that you can measure throughout the process to gauge your success. Include metrics such as increased visitors, leads and customers, as well as revenue generated.
Also discover who are your ideal customers? Ask questions like, what industry are they in? What role do they play at their job? Research their industry to learn the challenges they face, and what they do to solve common business problems. Then use this information to develop customer personas – semi-fictional representations that describe these ideal customers.
2. Get Found
Create a list of keywords that your persona might type into a search engine to find solutions to their problems. Use what you learned in Step 1, above, along with your keyword research to develop a list of topics for informative blog articles.
3. Get Leads
Expand on the topics you’ve identified to produce more detailed content, such as eBooks and whitepapers. Make these premium content offers available on landing pages on your website, where visitors must fill out a form to download your valuable, informative content.
4. Acquire Customers
Make your blogs and eBook offers part of your sales process. Send them to interested prospects that might find the information useful, to help guide them through their buying cycle. Use HubSpot to create workflows that automate the lead nurturing process.
5. Retain Customers
As your automated lead nurturing sequences begins to improve your customer close rates, you can use more premium content to delight your customers. Segment your contact list and build marketing automation workflows to offer continued education pieces and referral programs.
6. Analyze Results
Follow the data in the HubSpot Sources tool to get a clear sense of how effective your inbound marketing is. This information will give you ideas for how to improve.