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Why inbound marketing is essential for sustainable business growth
Inbound marketing enables businesses to build relationships with customers by providing the content that addresses their pain points. This increases the potential for attracting the right customers by providing content that inspires and delights them and answers their questions.
If you get it right, inbound marketing increases the likelihood of converting interested viewers into active buyers as they can see you are an informed and helpful business willing to put in the effort to help them.
Then, once they have experienced your excellent informative service, they are more likely to convert into loyal customers and brand ambassadors.
This blog will explain how inbound marketing can help you build a loyal customer base, with content that also attracts new customers, enabling you to create a sustainable business.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a method of attracting new prospects to your business and nurturing them into customers as well as reengaging existing customers by providing them with helpful answers and solutions at every stage of their buyer’s journey. It’s about meeting your potential and existing customers at whatever stage they are at —whether they’ve just realised they have a need or have already spent days, weeks or months researching for possible solutions.
When they find you and see that you provide the product or service they need, inbound marketing tactics should offer value to your potential customers. This ‘value’ will be derived from the focus on prospects’ needs.
Using the inbound methodology, a term first coined by HubSpot, helps businesses generate more qualified leads, and therefore more sales, as well as identify important metrics that help them gain a clearer understanding of the return on investment for their marketing.
What are the stages of inbound marketing?
The stages of inbound marketing are:
HubSpot uses the flywheel model to illustrate the buyer journey on the basis that inbound marketing is not a linear process. It is an ever-evolving, moving cycle that allows you to build strategies for customers at each different stage of the cycle and provide a better overall and ongoing customer experience. Over time, this flywheel approach will enable your business to grow without continually investing in customer acquisition.
To help you understand what you need to do so that your content resonates with your customers, develops their curiosity and trust, and encourages them to engage with you, we’ve written a detailed guide explaining each of the stages of inbound marketing.
How do I know what content to create to attract and delight customers?
Every inbound marketing strategy depends on the creation of excellent and relevant content. Ideally, you need to plan different types of content for each stage of your inbound marketing strategy.
Be sure to do your research first so that you understand who your target customer is, what questions they are asking and what challenges they face – also known as pain points. You will also need to look at the channels your audience engage with, along with how they like to receive their information.
Once you know this, you can get going with creating a content strategy that will wow them with topical blog posts, articles and offers that you know will interest them.
If you haven’t done so already, think about the tone of voice for your content. This should follow your brand tone of voice but be nuanced for each specific audience demographic and channel type. Be sure to use the different formats of content that are most likely to retain interest with each of your audience types.
Different types of content serve different purposes at different stages of the buyer journey, and you need to consider what those should be. For example, you might choose a mix of social adverts, blogs, news articles and an event during the attract stage, and possibly emails, white papers, blogs, e-books and case studies during the consideration stage. Webinars and videos may be another great way to engage with your audience, along with testimonials, ratings and reviews – all particularly useful during the decision-making part of the process when product and pricing comparisons are being made. And why not showcase the people behind your brand by publishing interviews with them.
When you are first looking to attract people to your website, you may consider advertising across relevant digital and traditional media. But there’s no point spending money on ads until you’ve created a set of high-quality landing pages. Often in inbound marketing, the landing page is a mechanism used specifically to capture the details of your potential customer in exchange for something of value such as information, or an offer. Your landing pages need to be simple, have clear headlines, concise content that describes the offer or value exchange, along with any other pertinent information. Once the user is captured into your database, and, with their permission, you can initiate further informational exchanges using email for example, signposting them to other content that helps to nurture them onwards through the buyer journey.
It’s a well-known fact that visual content such as imagery and video perform highly across online media and are critical to catching people’s attention. You can add ‘how to’ videos and infographics to explain how your product or service will enhance visitors’ lives or simply demonstrate your expertise on topics that are relevant to your products and services.
Every stage in the buyer journey is a chance to showcase your deep understanding of your potential customers’ needs. Your content offers an opportunity to show empathy for your customers’ pain points and provide detailed and exciting solutions and insight. You will also need to create inviting and relevant calls to action.
Remember: people buy from people, and if a customer has some insight about the people behind your company, this may provide further reassurance in their decision-making process.
The right content will help foster a trusting relationship and close a purchase.
Now it’s time to delight your new customer so that, in time, they will turn into loyal, repeat customers and brand ambassadors. To achieve this, you must continue to feed the inbound marketing flywheel with great, relevant content, offers and opportunities to engage exactly when it is needed.
And, at the delight stage you have an advantage: you have your customers’ contact details and you’re already savvy about what they want. So, you are in a great position to anticipate what they may want to buy next. You can then send out engaging marketing emails, tailored to their needs.
How does inbound translate into sustainable business growth?
An inbound approach to marketing generates higher quality leads than those generated through traditional ‘outbound’ marketing as the buyer has already decided to come to you to assist with their needs.
By providing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing will attract inbound traffic to help you build trust and credibility.
Over time, you’ll be able to convert this traffic into customers.
Suppose your business goal is to generate leads that close and build meaningful, lifelong relationships with your customers. In that case, an inbound approach represents a phenomenal opportunity to drive predictable, repeatable, and scalable business growth in the years to come.
The magic comes when you have the skills to create content and direct marketing emails that don’t look like advertising. People are sick of the ‘hard sell’. They want a gentler, more empathic approach to finding the things they need.
As a result, customers are increasingly drawn to businesses that take the time to listen, understand and address their needs or pain points. Companies that can do this, through an expertly created and executed inbound marketing campaign are well-placed to build an army of customer advocates – people who will be ambassadors for your product or service and promote them by word of mouth. And according to research, word of mouth ranks as the most popular source of information for people making purchasing decisions.
This shifting landscape means that traditional marketing campaigns aren’t getting the results they used to. So, utilising an inbound approach will help you grow a sustainable business – provided your products or services are what you say they are and that you deliver exemplary customer service.