What is Inbound Marketing?
You may have heard of inbound marketing, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, you are probably asking yourself, “What the heck is inbound marketing?”
At a very high level, inbound marketing is essentially permission based-marketing that makes use of all digital channels. You will be using high-quality content to attract more of your best buyers when they’re looking. So, essentially it’s about making it easy for your ideal buyers to find you, eventually convert into leads and from their turn into happy customers that will quick to refer you to their colleagues.
Sounds great, but where do I start? There are several tactics involved in an inbound marketing strategy, and in order for them to be successful they have to work together. For example, you may already have a Facebook page for your business, but what good is the page without any content? Content is king and you will want to create content that your visitor feels is valuable enough to share their contact information with you.
Is my company a good fit for inbound?
Inbound marketing strategies can work for companies of all shapes, sizes and industries. Whether you’re selling to a consumer, or directly to another business, inbound can help you drive quality traffic to your website, and in turn generate some really awesome leads.
When you’re making a big purchase, whether it be a new TV, a new car, or maybe you’re finally ready to buy that boat you’ve always wanted, what’s the first thing you do? Chances are, you head to the internet to do some research. If you were buying that product 15 years ago you wouldn’t have that luxury. You would probably rely on a salesman to “educate” you about their product.
Buying Behavior Has Changed
Luckily for the buyer, times have changed. Today’s buyer, thanks to the wealth of information on the internet, knows exactly what they want and exactly how much they should be paying for the product before they even engage with a sales rep. So, if this is happening on the consumer level, it is certainly happening in the B2B world where companies have purchasers whose only role is to buy a quality product at a great price.
These purchasers need facts and through inbound marketing, you can provide them at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Inbound marketing is all about the customer, and being there when they’re looking.
But, perhaps you’re content with the state of your business and you don’t want to generate more leads or close more sales? Then chances are inbound won’t be a great fit and you probably won’t find the rest of this post very useful.
Still here? Great! Now, before you head out of the office for the weekend, let’s talk about why inbound marketing can be a great strategy for a B2B company.
Inbound in Action
Here’s a basic B2B scenario of how inbound can be successful. For this example let’s say your ideal buyer is a purchaser at a major car company and you manufacture a key component of that car. It may be cheaper for that car company to purchase that part overseas, but the quality would be far lower and the buyer may not know that yet. So, how do we get out in front of this purchaser using inbound marketing?
The first step would be creating a premium content offer, such as an eBook on how companies are actually losing money by purchasing overseas. Once the content offer is created you would promote that offer. You can promote your offer with a call-to-action at the bottom of a blog post about the real costs of offshoring. You can then promote that blog posts through all of your social media channels. This makes your offer visible to those looking for it.
In a perfect world that purchaser would be searching for alternatives to offshoring. Your blog post would then show up in a search engine and he or she would then read that blog post. At the end of the post they may click on the CTA and then hopefully fill out a form providing you with their contact information. In turn you would send them an email with a link to download their e-book on the real costs of offshoring.
This person is then entered into your CRM and from there you can determine whether or not they are a qualified lead. If you decide they are a good fit, you can then nurture them along their buyer’s journey with an automated workflow with the hopes of that person eventually sending you an RFQ. Then it’s up to your sales team to close the sale.
$how me the Money!
With a proper strategy, inbound marketing will drive more quality traffic to your website, increase your conversion rate, improve your sales and show a very positive ROI.
You won’t have to worry about knowing whether or not inbound works, because everything is easily trackable. This means you will know everyone that came to your site because of certain content offers and based on that quantitative data you will know exactly what works and what doesn’t!
In today’s world, the buyer controls the purchasing process, but inbound marketing makes sure you’re there when they’re looking.