In the old days, many successful businesses depended on drumming up sales by means of outbound marketing techniques, such as direct physical mail, magazine, radio or tv advertising and other methods that "push" messages to a target audience. The prolific availability of information has change buyer behavior where they shut out push notifications of any kind and instead do research about what they need. Nowadays, of course, the marketing focus for most companies has dramatically shifted because of these changes in buyer behavior. Inbound marketing is the primary way businesses achieve sustainability, gain a loyal following, and, ultimately, increase sales.
What is inbound marketing? And what are some of its main components? The following information will answer these and other questions. First, let's uncover a solid definition for the term "inbound marketing".
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by providing valuable content and engaging experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with information that they don’t want and doesn't need. Inbound marketing forms connections and relationships they’re looking for while solving problems they already have and are looking to address. Therefore, inbound marketing is a naturally customer-centric approach to advertising and sales.
The fact is, today's consumers are bombarded by advertisements on all sides, and have less and less patience for dealing with unsolicited messages from commercial companies. The inbound marketing methodology allows a business to avoid the trap of alienating its target audience while delivering value. At the same time, it builds trust between the company and its prospects; a trust that will, over time, yield rich dividends.
So now that we've painted some broad strokes as to what inbound marketing is, another big question would be:
Or put another way: how does inbound marketing work?
While the operating principle upon which inbound marketing rests is fairly simple (don't go out to them, bring them in to you), in practice there are a lot of moving parts within any effective inbound marketing strategy. Most strategies can be divided into 3 phases, as enumerated by HubSpot:
Let's break down each of these phases and see which marketing techniques fit into each piece of the inbound marketing puzzle.
The initial phase of the inbound marketing methodology is all about providing valuable and appealing content to prospective customers. A key part of the attraction phase is the development of an ideal customer persona, or buyer persona, that will help you identify where to focus your content, and how best to deliver it.
The second phase of a typical inbound marketing strategy basically involves persuading prospects that your company will not only meet, but exceed their expectations, and that they will receive many benefits from doing business with you, both in the short-term and in the long run. In order to successfully engage your individual customers, you'll need to develop efficient and flexible communication processes, and make use of marketing tools such as:
The third and final phase of an inbound marketing strategy is the "delight" phase. In this step, you want to go above and beyond in providing an exceptional experience for your customers - even long after they've purchased your product. By doing so, you'll not only turn one-time customers into repeat customers; you'll turn repeat customers into loyal brand advocates.
When your business implements an inbound marketing strategy based on the three tenets of attract, engage, and delight, and you utilize all the many marketing tools at your disposal, then you're all but guaranteed to see exceptional results.
At Bristol Strategy, we provide strategic marketing support for our clients, and work with each one of our partners to ensure that their content, website, and overall Internet presence is optimized for inbound marketing. Experience has taught us that inbound marketing is an essential element of business growth, and we are happy to help our clients find ways to increase revenues and customer retention rates by leveraging inbound marketing strategies and tactics.
If you'd like to learn more about how we can help you grow your business, reach out to us today.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of services to enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer online. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.