What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a method of marketing that aims to attract the customer to you. Not the other way around! However, many businesses still try hard to reach out to people and ask them to purchase their products or services.
Inbound Marketing is attracting website visitors to your website by providing helpful and relevant content. These can be things such as this big blog post on Inbound Marketing, or simply creating a great infographic.
By using the techniques of Inbound Marketing, you will show users that you are the expert in your field. Rather than speaking to people from a business level, you approach it on a more human level.
Technology is making it easier to tailor content to individuals, but you still need to make sure that this content is reaching the right audience.
Inbound doesn’t just mean that marketing needs to be on the same page. It is an entire business approach, from the service team to the sales team, everyone needs to have a customer-focused mindset. Provide as little difficulty, or friction, for your customer to get the information they need.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound Marketing, or lead generation marketing, is the complete opposite. A business will reach out to clients or customers even when they don’t need to be communicated to. This includes more traditional media such as TV commercials, newspaper advertisements, brochures, catalogues etc.
Outbound is harder to track and usually has a lower Return on Investment (ROI). But many businesses still try to use this approach to marketing.
To summarise, the biggest differences between Inbound and Outbound Marketing are the following:
- Customer is looking for help, and comes to you
- Content provided is highly relevant and solves a problem
- All staff want to help the client
- Be as helpful and informative as you can.
- Reaching out to clients even when they don’t need your help
- Mostly used by traditional media
- Hard to track effectiveness and ROI
On this page you will find many steps and advice on how to successfully set up your Inbound Marketing campaign. These include tips on how to start using these techniques, down to how to develop them and make them more successful.
Moving from a Sales Funnel to a Flywheel Model
A sales funnel is imagery that gets used by marketers and salespeople to try and visualise how a potential customer becomes a client.
At the top of the funnel there might be one hundred customers, as they make their way through the funnel and come out at the end, you might retain five or 10. The marketing team is tasked with attracting people into the funnel. The sales team is tasked with making sure that as many people as possible that enter the funnel turn into customers.
One of the major challenges that many marketers and sales people have, is that there is a process problem. If you don’t have people coming in at the top of the funnel, eventually the funnel will dry out. This can be caused by many factors, such as unhappy clients or an ineffective marketing strategy.
To prevent your funnel from drying out and attracting enough leads, there is a new technique coined by HubSpot called the ‘flywheel’ model.
A flywheel works on perpetual motion. The more force is put behind the flywheel the faster it spins. If friction gets reduced, the flywheel will spin even faster.
This is the concept of the HubSpot flywheel when it comes to marketing. In the centre of the flywheel are the customers. And around it is your customer-facing departments, Marketing, Sales and Service. The more your departments focus on making customers happy, the faster the flywheel will spin.
Before the internet and social media, businesses had most of the power when it came to making purchasing decisions. They were the ones who had all the information and all the power to convince a customer. With the internet and social media, this has changed dramatically.
Customers now hold as much information as businesses, and often purchasing decisions get made based on advice from friends, colleagues and anyone else in their network. The customer will also search for mentions of your company on social media and are reading reviews on third-party websites.
There are three stages that combine the flywheel model with the Inbound Marketing methodology:
You attract customers to your business by having great content that educates and informs your leads. Eliminate as many barriers as possible to make visitors learn about your company.
You engage your leads by providing them with relevant and helpful information when they need it. Enable customers to engage with you when and where they need it. They should be able to contact you wherever they want it.
You delight your customers by providing amazing customer service and having as little friction in your communication channels as possible.
If you make sure every department in your organisation is focused on making customers happy, the flywheel will keep spinning faster and faster, as there is less difficulty for customers and visitors to engage with you.
We believe that a combination of both the funnel as well as the flywheel will work best. Most marketing software still uses a funnel-based approach to explain where customers come from. Google Analytics is still built around the sales funnel setup.
Both the sales funnel and the flywheel focus on your buyer personas and your buyer journeys. We will now dive into these two topics. Or you can skip ahead to:
- What is Inbound Marketing?
- Lead Nurturing
- Content Marketing
- Contextual Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Customer retention strategies