Today, everybody knows that the components of classic marketing – billboards, public relations and TV commercials – no longer stand on their own. Everybody also knows that the world today is online, relationships are forged online, ads are placed in Google, and that content is king. But knowing all this is not enough. What people really need to know today is Inbound Marketing.
The term inbound marketing describes an entire marketing and advertising methodology that uses blogs, social media, email campaigns, site promotions and more on the web. With this approach, it is no longer possible to do a little bit of everything – a little bit on Facebook, a little bit on the website, a little bit of SEO in Google. Everything has to have a reason and there should be connections between things.
Inbound marketing is the mutual relationships between all Internet advertising platforms. It is a marketing puzzle that can exist only if all its parts are linked. It is the new and right media in today’s dynamic marketing environment.
Inbound marketing is a marketing philosophy that breaks down Internet marketing processes into four main elements:
- How to generate traffic to your website.
- How to convert traffic into leads.
- How to turn leads into customers.
- How to measure and analyze what works and what doesn’t.
Inbound marketing is also suitable and relevant for organizations that are not looking for new customers but want to preserve what they have.
What tools does inbound marketing offer businesses to achieve these goals? The secret lies in the content. Content is the engine that drives to action, it’s the fuel, the power. People that connect to your brand through content connect to it faithfully, genuinely; they understand what’s in it for them. But in inbound marketing, using content wisely is as important. If you don’t do it smart, if you don’t mix and match all the elements of inbound marketing in the right dosage and at the right time, the end result may be very ineffective and eventually be forgotten by your visitors and potential customers. In other words, if the links between your content are broken, traffic will get lost and the site becomes irrelevant.
Each stage in the process has its own content components. To generate traffic, for example, you have to invest in creating a blog, articles, a website, in having a presence in social media and also in SEO. There should be a connection between the different types of content, search words should appear in all, and there should be interaction between them so that they can interact with your visitors. Quality traffic is measured based on the traffic between channels, as a flow. This is the only way you can bring the traffic to a point where it can be converted into leads.
To convert a visitor into a lead, the content should already contain a call to action. “Click to subscribe to the newsletter, webinar, eBook, survey”, etc. Anything that causes visitors to provide their name and email, converting them from an anonymous visitor into a lead.
The third and significant stage is converting a lead into a customer. Content here must already be sales focused. Here you have to think of sales offers that suit the preferences of your visitors. These offers should be integrated into CRM and telemarketing systems so that you can follow up and ensure that a visitor that got this far remains faithful to your brand.
The fourth stage of inbound marketing is what differentiates it substantially from the classic type of marketing – its ability to measure. This is the time to check which one of all the elements worked best, with what segment of visitors, what kind of words dominated the searches, where visitors dropped, and more. Inbound-marketing software provide a very detailed map of the marketing network and the exact locations where visitors converted. This is the time to focus and filter.
There are entire theories around each component, as well as inbound-marketing software that support and develop content, create the links between all elements, promote and provide the input of what worked best, what worked less and what needs to be reinforced.
So where should you start? How do you make sense of all these inputs?
First, sit down and analyze where you are today and where you want to go. What pieces of the puzzle you already have and what you’re missing. Where you want to generate the traffic, what calls to action you want to use so that they convert into leads, and what you will give to the leads so that they become customers. Then you have to decide on an implementation method. Where will you insert the content? What type of content will you create? Then you have to start creating content adapted to each of the platforms you selected, make the right links (Twitter versus blog versus Facebook), and give your visitors a reason to connect to you and your brand and to stay.
Inbound marketing is stable, powerful and long term. It’s a way to create an intimate relationship with your customers. It develops with them and with the relationship; it adapts itself to their needs and to what they want to get; it envelops them from all angles and makes you relevant in their eyes.
Last but not least – inbound marketing saves lots of money and brings significant results and profits. This is called Return on Investment or ROI, and it is undoubtedly the main reason for adopting inbound marketing in your organization.