Inbound Marketing. Explained.
Inbound Marketing is the ‘pull’ portion of your ‘push-pull’ marketing.
TV commercials, print and radio ads, email, direct mail, outdoor advertising, digital advertising and social media. Even your SEO that helps your website rank higher, your trade show, or a video placed on YouTube, is generally considered to be outbound marketing. These are marketing channels where most brands ‘push’ their message or offer out to their target audience. Think of these as the brand awareness stage.
Inbound, by contrast, is marketing activity that takes advantage of your prospects and customers coming to you. And when they do you’re already ahead of the game, because most people won’t spend their time researching a product or service if they’re not interested, or in the market to buy.
In 1999, Seth Godin wrote a book called Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers.
Godin defines permission marketing as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” This is the complete opposite of the “interrupting” style of outbound marketing. And it goes back to the fundamental inbound marketing definition: let the customer come to you.
20 years on, that’s exactly what’s happening…
In short Inbound is a marketing and business strategy. Content Marketing is the content you create to support your inbound approach. Without quality content that meets the needs of your customers—wherever they are in their buying journey—the process breaks down.
Widely used in B2B marketing, Inbound also has a place in marketing todays B2C and D2C brands.
B2B brands have been using inbound marketing for years but they’re not alone. For B2C businesses like; landscaping, pest control, grills, dishwashers, boats, ATVs, kayaking, camping gear, even senior living facilities, and every other product and service category where it’s now normal for potential customers to carry out their own research before purchase or sign-up, inbound is ideal.
With 57% of consumers saying they prefer to shop online and 81% of retail shoppers saying they conduct online research before buying*, inbound is now a must-have for any company that has a product or service with a sales cycle that’s anything longer than an impulse purchase. After all, if your marketplace can’t research your product or service… why would they buy from you?
Unless you’re selling groceries, gas, school supplies, or 2×4 lumber, you should be doing Inbound marketing.
Now we know how Inbound and Content differ, you’re probably asking how do you do that?
The answer can get complicated very quickly. In short, technology can be your friend. Some companies choose to get there by slowly building their ‘tech stack’ over time (we can think of a few downsides to this approach). Others want a single integrated solution that can do pretty much everything—a Marketing Automation Platform.
The 3 Phases of an effective and successful Inbound execution.
Phase 1 – Your choice of technology.
What’s important to keep in mind is all Marketing Automation Platforms are just that—software platforms. And as with all SaaS solutions, your platform (or tech stack) will need ongoing set-up and management—If no one is using it, it won’t do anything for you.
The benefits of an integrated platform are the cost and time savings of a single system. The ability to schedule social posts, create dynamic landing pages, capture visitor contact information and send custom emails at the right time—all tied in to an integrated CRM and Sales Automation that can track the activity and engagement of each individual. So that when the lead is handed off to Sales, they can see every piece of marketing content that the contact engaged with throughout their journey. Once they’ve become a customer, ongoing communications help keep them engaged and, reassured they made the right choice, they start referring you to their friends.
Phase 2 – Operations and oversight.
All platforms need ongoing oversight and maintenance—building out the campaigns and communication flows… telling the system what to do and when. You want your visitors and prospects to have a great user experience. If campaigns aren’t set up correctly either your prospect won’t be taken to where they want to go (creating a poor experience and they’ll leave), or the reporting and user activity won’t be captured.
Phase 3 – Content creation.
Now that you have the technology platform and have identified either internal or external resources to manage and implement the campaigns within your system, you’ll need to create the actual marketing content (emails, case studies, white paper assets, videos, etc.) As mentioned earlier, as the research and buying journey can be lengthy, you’ll need content for each stage and for who’s looking at it.
Many of the platform providers have ‘partner programs’ and can put you in touch with local area marketing agencies who can help you with on-boarding, operations and oversight, as well as the content creation.
At indigoOne we think it’s best that you initially view each of these phases as separate.
Over several months you’ll get a better handle on just how much time and resources your inbound marketing really requires.
Once you have implemented your platform, the amount of oversight management you need may vary—it’s likely that it will require more time in the first few of months and less in the following months. Likewise, the amount and type of content you need to create may be more at the front-end than later in the year. And if your business is cyclic the time required may ebb and flow. It’s for these reasons that our monthly packages vary based on who’s doing what and the content needed—there is no one-size-fits-all solution—instead, they’re customized to fit your needs.
As a marketing agency with a focus on lead generation, customer nurturing and retention, we believe your marketing budget should go toward marketing activity—and not toward paying for software applications and platforms that take an oversized chunk out of your budget and time.
Ask us who we like.
We’ve done the research and we think having an outside perspective can not only save you a whole bunch of time, we can also save your budget.
Our goal for 2020 is to share our experience and help more brands grow their revenue.
To learn more about how we can help you, email us or call us at 612 349 2711 and let’s start with a chat.