In this blog, Andrea Guerra, Marketing Executive at The B2B Marketing Lab, explains how those unaware of Inbound Marketing can get up to speed with the methodology.
The first thing you need to know about Inbound Marketing is that it’s not just a marketing technique, but a complex methodology composed of several tactics, all of which are used to achieve specific objectives.
With Inbound, you attract qualified traffic to your blog or website (using content that provides value and search engine optimisation), transform them into contacts or(leads) through landing pages and forms and, finally, to accompany and prepare them during the purchase cycle so that they become real customers.
And with all these different tactics, creating an Inbound strategy can be overwhelming, which is why we have listed some key aspects you need to understand to get to speed with the inbound marketing methodology.
1. Buyer personas
This term may be new for you if you’re unfamiliar with Inbound Marketing. By definition, a buyer persona is: “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer”. It’s based on real data and some speculation about demographics, behaviours, and goals. You can create buyer personas through research, analysis, and by looking at existing customer segments.
Thinking from your audience’s perspective will help you to create content that aligns with their business challenges, goals and interests, enabling you to attract qualified website traffic and start building trust.
2. The buyer’s journey
As well as knowing who you’re trying to reach, you also need to know what they want to see. This brings us to the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is essentially the purchase process. It’s the path everyone takes before buying a product to meet a specific need. Throughout the process, people will educate themselves in order to make an informed decision, reading blogs, eBooks, case studies, customer reviews and the like.
Awareness: the prospect is doing some initial research on a problem they have to clearly understand it.
Consideration: the prospect has clearly defined their problem and is now researching approaches or methods to solve it.
Decision: the prospect has now decided on a solution or approach and is compiling a shortlist of vendors that offer what they are looking for.
Pro tip: A potential prospect could be at any stage of the buyer’s journey before they interact with your website, so it’s important for you to have content prepared for every stage.
3. Content strategy
Content is the key to the success of your marketing. Inbound won’t work without it. In fact, marketers who prioritise their blogging efforts are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.
However, blogging is not the only way you can deliver content. Emails, website pages, infographics, videos, and eBooks are some other examples – and can all be used at different stages of the buyer journey.
When creating a content strategy for your business, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Set goals: this will help you organise your time and resources so you can make the most of your content strategy. Each goal you set should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. In other words, SMART.
Run a content audit: a content audit will show you the marketing assets you have at your disposal and identify gaps or opportunities in your content strategy.
Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey: content plays an integral part in nurturing website visitors and leads. It’s what helps you to move people from one stage of the buyer’s journey to another. So, make sure to deliver relevant, high-quality content for each stage of the buyer journey.
4. Social media strategy
There are many benefits in creating a social media strategy. This will not only give you the chance to reach a wide audience, but it will also help you build brand awareness, attract buyers to your products and services, foster relationships with your customers, and learn from competitors.
Here’s something to think about: did you know that 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family? (Lyfemarketing, 2018)
So, where do you start? Well, in order to create an effective social media strategy, start with your buyer personas; they are at the centre of your marketing strategy. Understanding who you want to reach will help you to choose the right social media platforms and create engaging, relevant content.
5. Align your marketing with sales
Your prospects spend a considerable amount of time interacting with your website and content before they speaking to a salesperson. In fact, they may not speak to a salesperson until the very end of the buyer journey!
For the most part, the marketing team is responsible for the website – and if data capture is set up, they’ll have detailed insight into what content potential prospects are looking at and how they have interacted with the website thus far. This is incredibly useful information for the sales team who can use it to inform conversations and better connect with prospects.
So why not align your marketing team with your sales team? Though it might sound difficult, it’s not impossible! By aligning your marketing and sales, you ensure the seamless transfer of critical prospect information, enabling both teams to better engage with prospects!
Find some tips on how to align your marketing and sales team at this blog.
Finally, the analysis of results. Doing so is very important because it’s what enable you to improve your Inbound strategy.
Depending on your goals, you should constantly be measuring the results. For example, the number of visits, leads, qualified leads and customers generated over the course of your campaign. Better yet, set up campaign tags and tracking so that you can attribute leads, customers and revenue generated to specific efforts.
Furthermore, measuring your results will not only help you to see the performance of your campaign, you can also use the data to determine next steps.
7. Take HubSpot's Inbound certifications!
Remember, this is just a basic explanation of the Inbound Marketing methodology. If you really want to learn more about Inbound and how it can be used to drive traffic to your website, convert leads and delight customers - take HubSpot's Inbound certifications!
HubSpot made Inbound Marketing - so if you want to learn everything about it, there's only one place to go: the HubSpot Academy.
Here's a link.
(By the way, they're completely free to take).
Now that you’re aware of the key in an Inbound Marketing strategy, you’re ready to build your first campaign. If you want some tips to help you out, check out our free eBook below.