Inbound: The Human Way of Marketing
Interruptive advertising and cold calling are not nearly as effective as they once were.
The internet empowers buyers to browse complete information about any product, industry, and competition. With every consumer expecting a personalized approach, inbound marketing provides the right connection between businesses and buyers.
If you want your brand to attract consumers these days, you need to create more meaningful relationships with them. In a nutshell, you need to be the magnet — not a sledgehammer.
Inbound philosophy is based around this concept. It focuses on earning trust — using educational content, doing business more humanly, and delivering solutions and opportunities that have a positive impact on people.
- Interacting with people using the sites, platforms, and networks they value most
- Creating knowledge that focuses on empowering your prospects and customers
- Aligning the way your buyers think, research, and purchase with your business strategy
- Optimizing content for search and social media to get found by potential buyers
- Producing content that pulls your buyers through the sales funnel
- Personalizing messages and promotions for buyers
Basically, inbound is a mindset adopted by marketers that attracts consumers more naturally and encourages them to become advocates with a delightful experience.
Understanding How Inbound Marketing Works
There are three stages to inbound marketing — attract, engage, and delight. We call this the flywheel, which helps you effectively market to your target audience in an inbound way.
Let's discuss each of these:
During the attract stage, a business focuses on appealing to customers through relevant and helpful content – immediately adding value to their buying journey. The content should be contextual — which means it should relate directly and provide an opportunity to showcase your level of insight.
Attracting people is all about creating conversations that help them overcome their obstacles and reach their goals. This means your content should establish you as a thought leader.
How do you do it?
Using Natural Language
We recently saw Google announce an algorithmic update called BERT (Bi-directional Encoder Representations from Transformers), which uses the ground-breaking natural language processing model.
The whole purpose is to improve the human language understanding of machines by resolving linguistic ambiguity. In a search perspective, this could be with the written or spoken queries made by search engine users and in the content search engines gather and index — leading to more precision in search results.
Consequently, we don't need to optimize our content for search engines the same way we used to: rather, keep it natural. Content creators should continue to create compelling, engaging, informative and well-structured content and website architectures. When we write and build sites keeping humans in mind, we meet the right informational need of the users at the right time, naturally attracting them.
A layered content structure builds a buyer's journey from discovery to conversion. These content pieces also act as a bridge — building backlinks to your landing pages, driving link equity as well as referral traffic.
When you pitch to high-authority industry publications within your niche, you attract the right audience, gathering authority for your website. Backlinks get your content to rank organically better — establishing your credibility to the user and creating a network of access across multiple publishers and web pages.
Reviews are Important
Consumers typically turn to search engines and online reviews when making a purchase decision. Your star rating and the number of reviews creates an important influence in building awareness about the brand.
For example, a 4.5 will make your company stand out. If a person makes a purchase and leaves the review, this gives valuable insight into your operation.
Smart businesses are using the content from the reviews to help their customers make better decisions and improve customer experience in real-time.
The engage stage starts when a person takes the desired action — reads that article, books a meeting, chats with your website bot, etc. Here you're being considered as a trusted advisor. You collect data about your prospect — this could be their personal information or simply tracking the actions they choose to move forward.
Make sure always to provide solutions for customer challenges. So, you're always selling the solution and not the product. This strategy helps in building that one-to-one relationship with your customers — selling your brand as honest and dependable. Also, ensure all deals end in mutually beneficial agreements for both your customers and your company. This stage leads up to creating the deal and converting the person to a customer.
How do you engage with people?
There has always been a debate between whether to gate your content or leave it ungated. But non-gated assets can heavily influence your lead's perception about your business, confirming that you can deliver value. Free e-books, case studies, webinars, etc. help in diverting higher traffic to your site — emphasizing transparency.
Marketing is all about messaging, and we see companies dipping their toes into one of the most natural messaging formats now. Chatbots are emerging as a compelling marketing technology tool.
The great thing about a chatbot is that it converses with users using natural language rather than traditional website or app user interfaces. It engages the customers beyond clicks, creating an active conversation with the user.
For example, Disney created an Officer Judy Hopps bot on Facebook Messenger to drum up excitement about the movie before its release. Rather than passively watching a movie trailer, people joined Judy on an interactive detective hunt, experiencing her story first-hand.
As a visitor turns into a lead, we need to learn more about that individual and organization. A smart form allows you to change an entire form depending on your website visitor and their specific characteristics. So, the viewers can see a form according to their device type, country, lifecycle stage, etc.
For example, when a visitor first lands on your page, you may want to ask them basic qualifying questions. Later, when it turns into marketing qualified lead, you may want them to answer more targeted questions. This way, you have more relevant conversations with prospects and leads.
Videos are a powerful, effective way to seize your prospect's attention. In fact, people would prefer to watch a two-minute video rather than taking 15 minutes to read the same information. According to HubSpot, videos are an investment, and including one on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%.
A portion of your subscriber list is going to lose interest and die off. It is inevitable. But can you control that and get them interested again?
A re-engagement email sequence or a retargeting advertising campaign can help win back those customers who've lost interest in you. Turning an inactive subscriber into a customer is five times cheaper than acquiring a brand-new customer.
People need a reason to stick with you. An email saying, "We’ve missed you" or offering discounted subscription shows your care for them, and that it's worth paying attention again.
Delight stage is all about providing an outstanding experience to your customers every time they interact with your company. Basically you exceed their expectations so much that they want to talk about you to their friends and family.
Delight is more than just customer service. Here you have the opportunity to ensure that you're actively creating advocates for your brand.
How you do that? Make your marketing, sales, and services teams provide outstanding content, conversations, and interactions with the prospects. You can also delight your customers by incorporating thoughtful, well-timed chatbots and surveys. Social media listening is another important strategy!
How do you delight customers?
Net Promoter Score or NPS is a typical benchmark that companies use to measure, evaluate and improve customer loyalty. It studies customer sentiment towards your entire business —your product, service, website, social presence, front-of-line staff, everything.
If you're able to build a strong NPS score, it means you're doing everything right. Every link in the chain is performing well.
Cross-selling & Upselling
Consumer behaviour and metrics can help to cross-sell any other product that can be purchased in conjunction with the primary product. For example, you can sell a conditioner with shampoo. Or, you can upsell and encourage the purchase of anything that would make the upgrade the primary product. For example, you may augment the sale of a camera with extra batteries or lenses.
Make sure that your suggestion fits the customer's exact needs. Actively listen to your customer's needs and desires. Determine which of your products or services could help them. Then, offer the cross-sell or upsell.
If you've been diligently collecting and updating your customer data, then you can use this to reinforce your business relationship with them — by positioning more of your available services.
Inbound marketing is all about making the marketing as humanly possible for people. Ensure that you understand what motivates your prospects and customers and find opportunities to provide additional insight or information. If you want to grow your business with inbound marketing tailored for your customers, get in touch with our Flawless Inbound team.