Excellent.org: a sing with "pull here" on it.

Inbound Marketing – An Introduction

Sensory overload, ad blockers, Netflix instead of TV, Spotify instead of radio – all these indicate that user behaviour and marketing are changing. The trend is moving away from classic marketing measures towards individualized information search and on-demand consumption.

Inbound marketing is all about you and your products being found by your potential customers on the Internet – without having to run a classic marketing campaign. Put simply, you achieve this by offering your website visitors relevant content and thus generating added value for them.

Why is inbound marketing so interesting? According to a study by HubSpot, the cost per lead is 62% lower with inbound marketing than with traditional outbound marketing[1] This means that traditional advertising is both more expensive and is perceived as annoying by many recipients. According to HubSpot, 84% of 25-34 year olds have already left a preferred website because unimportant or intrusive advertising was shown there [2].

In contrast to classical marketing, inbound marketing does not force itself upon potential customers. Rather, it’s about offering them added value through relevant information on your website, via your social media channels or on your blog, thus drawing attention to your company and your expertise. At the same time, you can offer the potential customers to contact you by phone, e-mail, chat or via social media and help them to solve your problem.

Inbound marketing therefore focuses on the customer with the aim of building up a relationship of trust with him and continuously providing him with information and resources that are important to him. Through inbound marketing, you try to arouse the interest of your customers, interact with them and inspire them with your company and your products – without imposing yourself unpleasantly.

Outbound vs. inbound marketing

While marketing was characterized for a long time by classic outbound marketing measures, this has been increasingly replaced by inbound marketing activities in recent years.

But what exactly is outbound marketing? Outbound marketing refers to the classic push marketing measures, such as advertisements, banner ads, pop-up windows, radio and TV spots or posters. For a long time our everyday life was shaped by them and even today we still encounter these measures every day. And, of course, it still works. However, it is becoming increasingly costly and less effective compared to inbound marketing measures.

After all, inbound marketing is all about ensuring that people receive exactly the news that interests them and thus arouses their interest in your company. The aim is to get these people to browse your website, read your blog, interact with you and request information on their own initiative. So from push to pull.

As a company, you should therefore deliver high-quality content that gives your potential customers answers. You can do this through a wide variety of channels and platforms. The following graphic provides you with an overview of what inbound marketing involves.

 

Excellent.org: Presentation of everything thats important for inbound marketing

As you can see, inbound marketing is an interaction of different elements, which we will assign to the inbound marketing process in the following.

With all the measures, channels and content, the point is not that you compete for attention, but that you earn it through content and knowledge.

What makes inbound marketing so special?

Inbound marketing differs from all other methods in that we speak of a continuous process that attracts potential customers and accompanies them through the entire marketing funnel.

The inbound marketing process looks like this:

Excellent.org: shows the inbound marketing prozess

1. attract strangers
The first goal is to make as many people as possible aware of you and visit your website. The prerequisites for this are a mature search engine optimization, exciting content on your social media channels, marketing automation, a functioning and appealing website and, above all, good content on your website. Of course you don’t want to attract just any users, but those who belong to your target group. You can do this by thinking about the questions they ask and providing the answers. These answers should of course be search engine optimized just like all your other content.

To increase your visibility, you can also consider working with influencers. And be sure to integrate your social media channels so that your content can be shared and thus spread even further.

2. generate leads
A lot of visitors on your website does not mean that you have gained many customers. Now take a look at the individual pages of your website and consider on which of them a content offer for lead generation can be integrated. Where can you make a whitepaper available for download? Where can your visitors register for the newsletter? Where do you want to refer to your webinar and where can your visitors register for it? Please feel free to use forms, pop-ups and live chat facilities – this increases the chances of lead generation.

3. qualify and complete leads
Of course not all leads become customers. Just because someone subscribes to your newsletter does not mean that they have made a purchase. Or consider that perhaps one of your competitors has downloaded your whitepaper – they are unlikely to become customers either. So now it is all about qualifying your leads and turning them into customers. But be patient. Just because a prospect does not buy directly does not mean he won’t do so at a later date.

To qualify your leads, you need to have an accurate picture of your target group. Who is your product for? How do you actually reach your target group? Now you can proceed differently to identify which leads have the prospect of more. First of all, you could do some research to see if the person who subscribed to your newsletter is a potential customer. Or you could directly ask your sales department to contact the prospective customer and find out by phone whether it is a qualified lead. However, you already suspect it – this is very time-consuming and laborious at this stage. Especially if you generate several hundred leads per day.

Another popular method is to first provide the newly acquired lead with additional information and then track how it reacts. For example, if you send a newsletter to a new subscriber, you can easily see whether the mailing was opened at all, and if so, whether a link was clicked and thus the topic covered seems relevant. Afterwards you can of course send further content on exactly this topic.

And then a good customer relationship management is essential to maintain your leads and build a long-term customer relationship.

4. inspire customers
A special feature of the inbound process is that it does not end after your customer has bought, but after you have impressed him and he has recommended you to others. So continue to deliver valuable content to him, stay in dialogue with him, see where you can support, advise or inspire him in the future, encourage him to interact and of course to recommend you to others. A rating platform is a good opportunity for a satisfied customer to share his experiences with your company.

Conclusion

In contrast to outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not generate advertising print. Potential customers are attracted by good content and an offer is only made when the potential customer is ready to buy. Leads should therefore be generated from visitors in order to qualify and complete them. Inbound marketing aims at a long-term relationship between your company and your customers. Especially in view of a general change in consumer and communication behavior, it is definitely worthwhile to take a closer look at the topic of inbound marketing.

In the second part, we will therefore explain to you how to create an inbound marketing strategy step by step and how it can be made even more successful with the help of a few tips.


 

[1] HubSpot: 12 Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know (2011)

[2] HubSpot: look at [1]