In 2006, when Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah were MIT graduate students, they observed that consumers were identifying and blocking out traditional marketing and sales tactics (e.g., cold calls and mail), viewing them as spam. So, they came up with a methodology for helping companies attract leads instead of chasing after them. They called it inbound marketing.
Today inbound marketing is a proven method of growing a business by attracting, engaging and delighting buyers with a “we’re-here-to-help-you” approach. Companies that use this methodology don’t buy email lists of strangers, or hound them by phone. They focus on educating their target audience; solving their problems; and nurturing relationships. In time, they are rewarded with new customers they then dedicate their energies to satisfying on a continual basis. In return, they benefit from customers spreading the good word about them.
Attract. Engage. Delight. Repeat. When companies adopt the inbound methodology, they are able to build trust and credibility in the marketplace, which leads to the momentum they need to grow.
Why does inbound marketing work? Because it puts buyers first. It acknowledges that they are fed up with being bombarded by sellers and prefer to ease into a relationship with a vendor at their convenience. (Don’t you feel this way?) In addition, the methodology centers around the path the buyer takes: they become aware of a problem, they explore solutions, and they make a decision to purchase in order to solve their problem. These stages are referred to as the Buyer’s Journey.
There is an art and a science to inbound marketing. Many skills, tools and tactics are required to properly and effectively create an inbound marketing plan. Whether your company is in its infancy or a large-scale operation and your traditional marketing approach is no longer working, having a plan can make the difference between surviving and thriving.
According to HubSpot’s 2018 State of Inbound Marketing report, 53% of marketers see a higher ROI from inbound tactics than outbound.
The Attract stage is what you do to entice your best prospects to visit your site. This happens when you offer the right people the right content at the right time – when they are beginning to research their problem. How will you do it? With online ads, instructional videos, information-packed blogs, and helpful social media posts.
Once a site visitor has been converted into a lead, you will focus on having an ongoing relationship. This is the Engage stage. Whether it’s through email campaigns, live chat, bots and/or messaging apps, you’ll personalize the experience to make it meaningful for the buyer.
The Delight stage consists of delivering the information buyers want, when they want it. Tools at this stage include smart content, email marketing (individual campaigns and/or automation), and creating memorable conversations using a mix of content that your prospects prefer.
Inbound has been game-changing for companies in a broad range of industries with a complex offering of products and services. This includes accounting, manufacturing, legal services, financial services, healthcare, insurance, IT and more.
Inbound marketing isn’t for every business, however. To determine if it’s right for you, answer these questions:
If you answered yes to most of these questions, inbound marketing may be a good fit for your business. To learn more, sign up for a free consultation below.