What is Inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is all about pulling people towards you and your company, instead of going out to get them.  It’s a marketing philosophy that’s all about publishing the right content at the right time, making your business as attractive to customers as possible.

According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 58% of companies surveyed are using inbound marketing.  Overall, 34% of their leads came from inbound marketing, with 22% coming from outbound.

These leads also cost less – for inbound marketing, the average cost per lead is £23, and the average cost per customer is £158.  Compare this to traditional marketing, with an average cost per lead of £25 and average cost per customer of £167 perhaps most telling, 49% said that they have been increasing their inbound marketing budget since last year.

So, how can you use inbound marketing software to generate more leads and increase ROI?  HubSpot recommends a four-stage plan – Attract, Convert, Close, Delight.

How to attract your customers

The key to attracting customers is producing content relevant for them.  All of your content should be created with your buyer personas in mind, and every marketing channel available should be utilized.

SEO and social media marketing tactics are especially effective, each of them generating 14% of total leads in 2013.

Good SEO practices also result in 15% more conversions than average, with social media generating 13% more.  The most useful social network by far is Facebook, providing leads for 52% of marketers.  LinkedIn and specific company blogs are in second place with 43% each.

How to convert your website visitors into leads

The conversion process starts with gathering some contact information.  You can’t count on getting it for free, so be prepared to offer something in return.  Information is valuable – consider creating exclusive white papers and ebooks that you will send in return for contact information.

Calls-to-action are very effective and should be used whenever appropriate.  They should send visitors who click on them to landing pages which are specifically designed to fulfil the promise of the call-to-action.

Landing pages are good places to put forms to collect information.  No matter where your leads come from, when they submit contact information it should all be collected into a central database to better make sense of the data.

How to close more leads

Closing the deal is the highlight of the marketing process.  Leads usually need a bit more encouragement before they will become customers, so it is important to properly manage and understand your leads.

Use follow-up emails to send customers more content of the type that you already know they are interested in, as well as inform them of special offers and sales.

A system of lead scoring can show you which customers are most likely to convert at a given time, and which aren’t ready to talk to the sales team.  Marketing automation tools can automatically send emails and perform other tasks based on a particular lead’s score.

Don’t forget to delight your customers

A conversion isn’t the end of the process.  Satisfied customers are likely to share their good experience with friends, and there is always the chance of upselling.

Continue to provide customers with engaging content after a sale.

Inform them of new features and developments within your company that they might be interested in, and do what you can to help them achieve their own goals.  Do your best to show them that you still care about them and weren’t just after their money.

Inbound marketing is a very effective way to grow your customer base and gain some great brand recognition by becoming a source of high-quality, relevant information.  By following the general guideline of attracting, converting, closing, and delighting customers, a company can develop a systematic way to increase ROI.

What Challenges have you faced with your marketing?  Let us know in the comments below!

image credit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *