Everybody knows what marketing is – more or less. But what about the so hyped term inbound marketing? Inbound marketing basically describes the wonderful situation of customers coming to you to buy a product instead of actively acquiring them. Find out how your business can attract more inbound customers too!
Traditional marketing vs. inbound marketing
Even though inbound marketing is often compared to traditional marketing, it could be rather seen as the opposite of outbound sales. Instead of cold calling people, inbound marketing uses online marketing channels which raise awareness for the brand. Typical inbound marketing channels include content marketing (e.g. the company’s blog), search engine advertising (e.g. Google ads), affiliate marketing and social media marketing. The overall strategy of inbound marketing is to turn the right prospective clients automatically into leads. While traditional marketing channels (e.g. TV spots) rather push the awareness of the company, inbound marketing has the objective to get qualified leads. Hence, inbound marketing can overall be seen as a modern sales strategy to acquire new customers.
- Traditional marketing cannot compete with online marketing anymore.
- Inbound marketing reaches more people.
- The different stages of inbound marketing offer every prospect the perfect experience.
- Inbound campaigns can be monitored in real-time.
The buyer’s journey strategy
In case that you spend a little bit more time with inbound marketing, you will soon come over the so-called buyer’s journey strategy. It basically categorizes your potential clients in three categories: awareness, consideration and decision making. A customer who currently is in the awareness stage has to be confronted with the problem which your company solves. Maybe he does not even know that there is an issue which can be changed. While the awareness stage means that the customer just realizes that he has a problem, the buyer in the consideration stage knows that there are several ways to solve the problem and actively compares them. He searches for existing solutions and tries to find out how the problem can be fixed. Lastly, a potential customer who already is in the decision stage will buy a product very soon. This is your chance to reach out and convince him that your product perfectly solves his issues.
Harmonizing inbound marketing and the buyer’s journey
In the best case, there should be an inbound marketing strategy for each single of the three stages. No matter if the potential customer is just at the beginning of the funnel or if he will soon buy the product – it’s the inbound marketing’s job to guide the prospective client through all stages. While traditional marketing had the task to simply raise awareness, inbound marketing has to dive much deeper into understanding the customers’ issues. In a perfect situation, all your inbound marketing channels harmonize with the buyer’s journey strategy and answer the questions of your customers according to their current stages.
Turning inbound leads into customers
Creating a sophisticated inbound strategy takes a lot of effort and time. Especially building the right content for your audience is a mid-term project which needs expertise. But if you succeed, your costs per lead can decline a lot and the upwards potential is amazing. After getting qualified inbound leads, they either have to be followed-up via your marketing or your inbound sales team. Depending on the quality of the lead, it should either be contacted via automatic mailings or via an inbound sales agent. Just because you get interested customers waiting in front of your door does not always meant that they make the last step. It is still your sales and marketing teams’ job to convince the prospective customer and to form a long-term relationship.
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