It’s no secret that the world of marketing has changed immensely in the last 10 years. We have seen the emergence of digital marketing evolve into arenas that didn’t even exist a decade ago. With this digital evolution, new terms, strategies and markets have been created. 10 years is an iconic number. Why? Well, 10 years ago the term “inbound marketing” was created, thanks to our friends at Hubspot. In this blog, we want to breakdown the core benefits of inbound marketing and why every business should be implementing these strategies.
A Little History about Inbound Marketing
Remember how we mentioned 10 years ago, thanks to digital marketing, some terms and strategies didn’t even exist? Well, inbound marketing is the poster child of the digital marketing evolution.
10 years ago, a duo of entrepreneurial marketers, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, created today’s biggest inbound marketing automation platform, Hubspot. In short, inbound marketing refers to a philosophy that preaches high quality content, easy-to-navigate web pages that are targeted with rich and relevant keywords to increase your organic traffic and overall SEO presence.
Inbound marketing also maximizes the use of social media sharing and influencer marketing, which entices customers to provide qualified contact information for future promotions, follow ups and sales initiatives.
Now that we understand a little background about inbound marketing, let’s dive into the real benefits of inbound marketing and why your business should be using these tactics.
Creating Credibility and Trust through Content
Having a great logo and strong design is great.
Having a rockstar sales team in place is awesome.
Having an advertising budget and marketing on multiple platforms is also important.
But you know what? None of this is relevant, or possible, if you’re not willing to create high quality content.
One of the biggest benefits to inbound marketing is the importance of having valuable content in place to lead all your marketing efforts. We are firm believers that any marketing strategy lacks substance without great content.
The first rule to inbound marketing is having your content attract an engaged online audience in hopes that audience one day turns into customers and brand advocates. Many buyers don’t want to be disrupted by a random email or phone call. Outbound terms like this still work, but it’s a more aggressive sales approach. Inbound marketing is 100% on the buyer’s terms, and that’s where the real benefits of inbound marketing come in.
When a buyer engages with you, it’s because of the content you have created and effectively promoted. Not because you have interrupted their day. This increases the value of every engagement you get from someone online. It’s more genuine.
When you take this type of inbound approach, you’re playing a longer term strategy that attracts a lot more customers organically that are very qualified to end up buying and advocating for your brand. I mean, think about it? When someone decides to buy from you, they want to trust you.
Create a Strong Digital Sales Funnel
Another one of the benefits of inbound marketing is the ability you have to build a strong digital sales funnel. The whole purpose of inbound marketing is to attract a quality online audience and engage them through rich content to take action. When you have this type of long-term digital strategy in place, you have great opportunity to create a strong digital sales funnel. Let’s break it down.
Top of Your Sales Funnel
The top of your sales funnel are the channels you’re using to attract new customers online. Commonly used channels and outlets are SEO, blogs, social media, and email (newsletters).
Before you even consider what channels to use, you need to have quality content already created and ready to promote. Remember, all this fails if you don’t have quality content. Companies mostly struggle from two extremely opposite things at this stage: They don’t have any content, and aren’t willing to create quality content. Or they have a TON of great content, they just don’t know what channels to use to actually attract an audience to it.
So it’s essential, before you even decide to move forward with any type of inbound marketing, that you make sure you have a content marketing strategy in place from both a creation side, and promotion side of things.
Middle of Your Sales Funnel
Once you attract a user to the middle of your sales funnel, you need to capitalize on the momentum you already have. The middle of your sales funnel is where you nurture your new leads with strategic drip campaigns, clear calls-to-action and genuine and consistent follow up.
Think about it. You give a company your name and email for an eBook they were promoting that you were interested in. You get the eBook and it’s the best thing you’ve ever read! But then boom, you never hear from that specific company again. Wouldn’t that be odd? Would that turn you off a little? Odds are, it would probably make you second guess the company. That’s why it’s important in the middle of the sales funnel to have automated drip campaigns set up that give our new constituent clear and concise direction on “how” to take action.
This is also the part of the funnel where we start thinking about the final and bottom step of the sales funnel. We have to start developing a relationship with our newfound fan. Don’t make everything automated, be sure to follow up and engage with this constituent personally as well. In today’s digital age, it’s easy to feel like we are dealing and speaking with robots. Make sure your online audience understands that’s not the case with you.
Bottom of Your Sales Funnel
Okay, now all the hard work is done, right? Not! This is really when the actual working relationship begins. At this point, you have invested a good amount of time and energy into your inbound marketing strategy, and you successfully got a quality lead to the final stages of your sales funnel.
Obviously, at this point, your constituent is already familiar with some of your content, your business, and most likely has engaged with you directly. This is where you start building your relationship and the conversion happens.
This is where the rubber meets the road and you put your money where your mouth is. Are you solving a problem they have? Are you providing a service or expertise they need, but don’t know anything about? What value are you delivering? This is where your product or service backs up what you have already sold them on.
Transaction vs Loyalty: The Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Maybe the benefit of inbound marketing is the loyalty it brings from your customers. Remember, anyone can build a business, but few can build a brand that people love. Are you thinking transaction or loyalty at the end of the day?
Most companies, who only use outbound sales tactics, rely on high volume transactions, even if the business is recurring. Their goal is the final sale, and to repeat that process with another customer, then another customer after that, and yes, a plethora of more customers after that. To be fair, nothing is wrong with this business model. It just takes a lot of work; you’re always chasing.
When inbound marketing is fully committed to, and done correctly, you start to see brand advocacy take place. When people follow your brand because they love your content, it creates a tribe. If people are sharing your content, it’s because it makes them feel good or makes them look smart. The logic to social sharing is that simple. When your tribe starts growing (no matter how big or how small) you’re creating a sense of traction. You’re creating loyalty. And that leads to better business every time.