Inbound Marketing is a methodology that utilizes marketing techniques that naturally draw potential customers to your product or service.
Inbound Marketing is about creating and sharing relevant and useful content that will appeal to your ideal customers.
Instead of traditional direct marketing methods like buying media (TV commercials, radio spots, magazine ads) and purchasing email lists, Inbound Marketing focuses on creating quality content that attracts people to your company and product.
By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. When your marketing becomes relevant and helpful—not intrusive or interruptive—people will embrace it.
The graphic above illustrates the Inbound Marketing methodology. It contains four phases—Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. Each phase moves consumers seamlessly through all the customer lifecycle stages: Stranger, Visitor, Lead, Customer, and Promoter. Specific marketing tactics like blogging, social publishing, landing pages, CTAs, email, and more help to transform those strangers into promoters.
Here's some insight into each phase and lifecycle stage.
You don’t want just anyone coming to your website. Rather, you want people who are most likely to become leads, and, ultimately, happy customers. Inbound Marketing is about finding people who need and want your product—not hard selling to the masses.
Who are the “right” people? Ideal customers can be categorized into buyer personas. Buyer personas are holistic ideals of what your customers are really like, inside and out. Personas encompass the goals, challenges, pain points, common objections to products and services, as well as personal and demographic information shared among all members of that particular customer type. Your personas are the people around whom your whole business is built.
It's important to attract those people with relevant content at the right time when they’re looking for it.
Some marketing techniques to attract the right users to your site include—
Once you’ve attracted website visitors, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information. At the very least, you’ll need their email addresses. Contact information is the most valuable currency there is to the online marketer and a huge goal to collect as apart of the Inbound Marketing methodology.
In order for your visitors to offer up that personal information currency willingly, you need to offer them something in return! That “payment” comes in the form of content, like e-books, white papers, or tip sheets—whatever information would be interesting and valuable to each of your personas.
Offer your visitors these intriguing gateways to lead them through the inbound marketing journey—
Once you’ve attracted the right visitors and converted them into leads, you need to transform those leads into customers. How can you most effectively accomplish this feat? Certain marketing tools can be used at this stage to make sure you’re closing the right leads at the right times. Plus, as you learn about your leads, you'll have more chances to send optimized messages that will increasingly address their specific needs—and that's what closes sales.
Tools used to engage and track leads include—
Inbound Marketing is all about providing remarkable content to users, whether they be visitors, leads, or existing customers. Just because someone has already written you a check doesn’t mean you can forget about them. It's important to engage with, delight, and (hopefully) up-sell to your current customer base. Delighted customers will buy more, stay with you longer, refer their friends, and be happy to tell the world they love you.
Tools used to delight current customers include—
In a nutshell, Inbound Marketing strategically moves buyer personas through lifecycle stages by using focused marketing actions and tools that nurture them from stranger to promoter.