What is Inbound Marketing Anyway?

What is Inbound Marketing Anyway?

on-target-1504936-1279x860

At Iconic, we listen to your growth goals, help you identify marketing goals that give you the best chance to generate more sales, develop a strategic marketing plan to accomplish them, and work with you and your staff to implement, analyze, and refine a culture of inbound marketing and online lead generation.


ABOUT INBOUND MARKETING:

 The definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results. Inbound marketing can dramatically lower your cost on lead generation, drive better traffic, and improve your position as a thought leader in your market.  Just to clarify, it is not a quick fix. It is an investment in building a sustainable business.

LET’S START WITH THE BASICS OF INBOUND MARKETING.

 WHY DID WEB MARKETING CHANGE?

 Because it had to. It’s as simple as that. Here are some of the factors at play:

Technology: Technology has allowed users to filter messages.

  • No-call lists – 200 million now on the list
  • DVRs – 86% of people skip commercials
  • Pop-up blockers and in-private browsers
  • Multiple e-mail accounts – everyone has a marketing message address that we haven’t checked since the Clinton administration, right?
  • Broadcast radio – being replaced with satellite radio and mobile-based offerings like Pandora

New Generation of Consumers: Consumers in prime target demographics grew up in a progressive information-driven environment and are fatigued by traditional web marketing

Increased Noise: It’s estimated that people receive 1,700 ad solicitations per day on the web. How many did you take advantage of yesterday?

New Buying Process: To get away from all the marketing noise, prospects do research on their own and instead look to content like comparisons, independent reviews, and recommendations from social media groups.  They now do 2/3 of their buying process without you or your competitors.

Content-Driven Search Engines: Search engines like Google are now capable of “reading” content and assessing its merit based on advanced algorithms, social media sharing, and back links.  Complete, updated, and relevant content trumps ridiculous tactics like pop-ups, banner ads, and SPAM.

 WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INBOUND AND OUTBOUND MARKETING?

INBOUND MARKETING vs. OUTBOUND MARKETING

Or should we say… Permission marketing vs. Interruption Marketing

OUTBOUND

You find customers

Through TV, radio, online ads, SPAM, billboards, etc.

Marketer interrupts customer

Reach is greater / conversion % much lower

Message is one way

Marketers constantly ask consumers to “buy now” in hopes that they are in the market for the product right this second (sooner or later they will be…right?)

Common Tools Used in Campaigns:

Pay-per-click ads, TV ads, radio, billboards, pop up ads, direct mail, SPAM, banner ads

Strategy: Induce prospect to buy now, usually with a substantial discount or other reduced margin offer

Best Uses: Short-term spikes in sales, promoting time-sensitive offers, large scale media campaigns

INBOUND

Customers find you

Through search engines, social media, referrals

Customers request info and give permission to market to them

Reach is often smaller / conversion % much higher

Conversation is created

Marketers provide value to interested prospects to capture leads

Common Tools Used in Campaigns:

Opt-in e-mails, blogs, SEO, content creation, free information, social media, referrals

Strategy: Give prospects what they want (information) to help them make a decision and develop a relationship so that when they are ready to buy, the prospect considers your firm as a thought leader.

Best Uses: Long-term marketing success, branding, and lowering lead generation costs over time

WHAT IS A SALES FUNNEL?

HERE’S HOW SALES FUNNELS ARE STRUCTURED:

PLAN & STRATEGIZE.

(Would you expect a different first step from Iconic?) Blog, social media, search engine optimization, inbound links, great relevant content

BUILD TRAFFIC.

Blog, social media, search engine optimization, inbound links, great relevant content

CONVERT TRAFFIC.

Web design, offers, calls to action, landing pages, value propositions, forms

NURTURE LEADS & CLOSE CUSTOMERS.

E-mail marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), data building, reconversion, workflows, progressive calls to action, sales intelligence, sales training

BUILD BRAND ADVOCATES.

Sales intelligence, sales training, social media sharing, blogging, e-mail marketing

GET THE INTRO CLASS ON INBOUND MARKETING

If you’ve been hearing the term “inbound marketing” all over the internet, it’s for a good reason. It’s pretty important. Whereas outbound marketing solves immediate needs, inbound marketing will lay the foundation for your business in the future.

That’s why we’ve put together an inbound marketing e-book that gives you the complete introduction to inbound. Get all the information you need to start on an inbound project right now.

INBOUND MARKETING SERVICES STEP 1:
It’s always about strategy. Always.

DEVELOP A PLAN

One rule to live by: always have a strategic plan.  Marketing can get expensive real quick if you do not take time and make an investment in charting your course.

 COMPONENTS OF AN INBOUND MARKETING PLAN:

  • Analyze current web metrics
  • Revisit past strategies, what worked, what did not
  • Analyze competitors
  • Develop buyer personas and target market demographics
  • Create effective value proposition
  • Research keyword strategy
  • Define “What is a good sales lead?”
  • Bueprint the sales funnel and identify lead capturing needs

 HOW CAN WE HELP YOU WIN?

As part of a retainer-based program or as a standalone project, Iconic Partners can develop an online marketing plan to help boost sales, train your website to sell, and help you dominate your online marketing opportunities.

AN ICONIC QUOTE ABOUT PLANNING:

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.” -Sun Tzu

INBOUND MARKETING SERVICES STEP 2:

Build traffic.

SOURCES OF TRAFFIC:

+  Search engines
+  Social media
+  Direct Traffic
+  Referrals from other sites
+  Pay-per-click ads

WAYS YOU CAN DIRECTLY INFLUENCE TRAFFIC:

+  Content creation that is relevant to the defined target markets
+  Blogging strategy
+  On-page Search Engine Optimization and keyword strategy
+  Social Media Marketing
+  Promotion strategy implementation including pay per click (used correctly and efficiently)
+  Advanced landing page optimization

WHAT ATTRACTS VISITORS?

+  Relevant content in a format they understand quickly
+  Information to help make decisions
+  A reason to stay on your site

WHAT VISITORS DO NOT WANT:

+  Pop-up ads
+  Flashing yellow start bursts and sales bonanza style calls to action

FIVE TRAFFIC MYTHS

1. All traffic is good traffic.
2. Getting more inbound links, even paid ones, means better search rankings.
3. Paid search ads is the only way for small businesses to build traffic.
4. Being at the top of Google’s ranking is something SEO companies can guarantee.

Your customers aren’t on social media. Your customers are so unique, universal traffic building strategies won’t work.

INBOUND MARKETING SERVICES STEP 3:

Traffic is cool. Leads are way cooler.

Does traffic alone sell your product?  Not really.  Traffic to your site is only a small portion of the marketing puzzle.  Converting that traffic into sales prospects is the key.

A conversion happens when a visitor decides to give you information or takes an action that advances your sales relationship.

To convert, you need information from them so that you can place them in your sales funnel.

Think of visitors’ information (email, phone number, company name, etc.) like currency on the web.  You will need to offer something that visitors want so that they will give you info.  In order to gather info, you will use these tools:

SOURCES OF CONVERSIONS:

Calls to Actions
+ Forms
+ Offers
Landing Pages

STRATEGIES THAT HELP CONVERSION:

  • Clearly definedcalls to action
  • Landing Pagesdesigned to capture info
  • Created content in the form of offers that the target audience considers valuable (like e-books, white papers, special coupons, e-mail tips, etc.)
  • Forms that capture only pertinent info
  • Properwebsite structureand progression

STRATEGIES THAT HURT CONVERSION:

  • Missing offers
  • Irrelevant traffic
  • Weak offers
  • Redundant or irrelevant content
  • Too many options for navigation
  • Poorly-designed websites

INBOUND MARKETING SERVICES STEP 4:

Nurture leads and close customers.

Cool!  We converted visitors.  Um.  Now what?  Time to do some nurturing.  This is not the time to go super sales organization and bombard the prospect with buy now messages.  This is the time to use our marketing offers to build interest in our offering.  We don’t want to scare them away.

Iconic Partners uses Hubspot to place them in an automated workflow that delivers marketing messages on a set schedule.  Responses to each message are measured and, depending on their interest, deliver a message that progresses them further down our sales funnel.

Each message is designed to develop an understanding of the opportunity and capture a more complete picture of the prospect.

Your goal during this process is to qualify the lead so that when you turn it over to sales, you have as much information as possible about the opportunity.

Once turned over to sales, the sales force must be trained to understand the data that marketing has captured.  Sales training is critical to get the best ROI.

TOOLS USED IN LEAD NURTURING:

E-mail marketing
Blog posts
+ E-books, whitepapers
+ Smart forms
+ Sales training

STRATEGIES THAT WILL HELP NURTURING AND CLOSING:

•Clearly defined lead requirements
•Capturing pertinent information with offers
•A clearly developed sales funnel
•Specific actions and messages that will be received throughout the process
•A well-defined sales training processthat will make sure marketing •gathers the right information and sales closes the loop

STRATEGIES THAT WILL HURT CLOSING:

  • SPAM email practices
  • Complicated forms
  • Erratic or poorly-planned automated marketing messages
  • Poor lead intelligence being turned over to sales
  • A sales team that does not fully understand how to deal with Marketing Qualified Leads

INBOUND MARKETING SERVICES STEP 5:

Have customers that sell for you. Now, that’s Iconic.

Inbound marketing does not stop once a customer is closed.  Instead, the process switches focus and seeks to continue to build the relationship from paying customer to brand advocate.

The most important goal of inbound marketing is to change the game from one of your company finding customers to that of customers finding you.  What better way to achieve this than to turn your current client base into a sales force for your brand?

TOOLS TO USE TO DEVELOP CUSTOMERS INTO BRAND ADVOCATES:

Social media marketing
E-mail marketing
Blog posts
+ Press releases

The following two tabs change content below.

Scott Blanton

Content Writer at Iconic Digital Marketing
As Iconic Digital's content writer, Scott works with clients to develop brand stories and key messaging. When he isn't typing away at his computer, you'll find him exploring new coffee shops, spending time with this family, or working on a new home improvement project.