What’s the aim of marketing? It seems like a simple question but let’s really think about it.
We get so tied up in the detail of things these days that we can so easily forget why we’re doing. Why do businesses seek the help of marketers such as ourselves?
You might say they want to gain more visibility with their audiences. What about a better understanding among those customers of what their business does. Ultimately, when all is said and done, the reason any business would recruit an agency, or practice their own marketing efforts for that matter, is to grow.
They aren’t happy with what they currently have and they feel, with a little nudge from the experts, they can get where they want to be.
In this article, I’m going to explain to you exactly what inbound marketing can do to grow your business. Let’s clear the fog and get down to brass tacks. How do people, such as myself, get people, such as yourself, where they want to be?
What Is Inbound?
Before we get into it, we need to first look at what makes up the inbound marketing methodology. Here are the three stages of inbound:
- Attract - First, you need to get the word out about your business and appeal to potential customers with the great content you have to offer them.
- Engage - Once they’re in the door, you need to give them every chance to become a customer and nurture their likeliness to purchase when the time is right for them.
- Delight - Once they’ve become a customer of yours, you don’t want to forget about them. Your customers can be your greatest asset when utilised in the right manner.
Do you see a pattern? We’ll get into these stages in more detail shortly but, as you can see above, everything I mentioned about inbound marketing is focused on your customers. Inbound is about offering people every reason to engage with your business. If you have nothing to offer, you’ll be resigned to using outbound tactics on a disinterested audience.
How Inbound Can Help Your Business Attract an Audience
This stage can leave many business owners in a spin since there are so many ways to promote your business. So, how do you know what’s the best use of your time and money? What route should you go down for maximum effectiveness and efficiency?
Well, as a HubSpot agency, we have our hands on the best tools available to help grow your audience and get the word out about everything your business has to offer. HubSpot is the worlds leading inbound marketing platform so, as a partner of theirs, we’ve got our fingers on the pulse and the backing of years of industry experience to show you what options are available to you.
No two businesses are alike and, by that notion, no two target audiences are alike. Even companies in the same industry will differ enough to be homing in on a different type of demographic. This distinctiveness means that the way you approach the task of attracting customers will be hugely different from the way your competitors do.
Inbound marketing gives you the chance to position yourself as a solution to your target audience’s problems. You align yourself and the content that you provide as a helpful take away for them to learn more about you while you’re resolving their issue. As a result, each business has to provide different types of content in order to align themselves with their potential customers.
By providing this type of content through means such as SEO and social, you’re building an organic audience who regularly find your content useful. This is the essence of inbound marketing. There’s no reason this tactic can’t be partnered with a good PPC or paid social campaign to give your content a reach boost, but the idea here is that you build an audience through content generation.
How Inbound Can Help Your Business Engage with Leads
So, now you have an audience, amazing! You’ve got them into the door and you’re consistently providing content that they find interesting and helpful when it comes to solving their problems. How do you translate these visitors into customers?
Well, first you need to convert your visitors into leads. The way you do this is to alert your visitors to the fact that you have a free piece of exclusive long-form content that they might be interested in. All they have to do is provide their contact information in exchange for the exclusive content. Now, having downloaded your content, that visitor has become a ‘contact’ in your database.
Now you have them in your database, you have the means to nurture them towards becoming a customer. So, what’s the next step?
The best way to target the right contacts in your database is to use a system of segmentation. With this, you can determine which contacts can be considered an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) and which can be considered an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). Using this, you are able to target the content you provide to the right contacts.
It might not seem like it but there’s a big difference between how you’d want to interact with an SQL than how you’d approach an MQL. From here, the game is up to you. Try to nurture your MQLs into becoming SQLs by offering them more decision-based pieces of content. If your SQLs are regularly interacting with what you have to offer, and you have the right consent under GDPR to do so, give them a call.
Taking them from a lead to a customer can be the most difficult step in the whole process but, with inbound marketing, you have a structure in place to do it successfully and consistently.
How Inbound Can Help Your Business Delight Customers
As I mentioned previously, once your leads have become customers, the last thing you want to do is forget about them. You’ll want to delight them so much that they turn into ‘evangelists’ for your brand and tell everyone they know about the amazing service you provided them with.
According to HubSpot: “In a truly successful inbound organisation, customer "delight" is everyone's responsibility — not just those people your customers may come into contact with after buying something from you.”
This stage is all about creating brand loyalty. If you can generate as many ambassadors for your business as you do customers, not only does it tell you’re doing something right but it means that a large chunk of your marketing efforts is taken care of.
Every evangelist of your business is actively out there singing your praises - for free! There’s a reason HubSpot adapted their inbound funnel into a flywheel. It’s because each stage feeds the other and a happy customer isn’t the end of their journey, they have an active role to play in generating new business for you through testimonials and positive reviews.
Let’s not lose sight of why marketing exists. Let’s take a look at why we do what we do so that we can all sing from the same hymn sheet and work towards a common goal.
As the title of this article suggests, the idea of marketing is to grow your business. Inbound, in our minds, is the best way to do that.